Tech blogger won't be charged in Apple iPhone case

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Prosecutors said Wednesday that they will not bring charges against a tech blogger who bought an Apple iPhone prototype after it was found at a bar in March 2010 in a case that ignited an unusual First Amendment debate.

San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt said charges were not filed against Gizmodo.com's Jason Chen or other employees, citing California's shield law that protects the confidentiality of journalists' sources.

"The difficulty we faced is that Mr. Chen and Gizmodo were primarily, in their view, engaged in a journalistic endeavor to conduct an investigation into the phone and type of phone it was and they were protected by the shield law," said Pitt.

"We concluded it is a very gray area, they do have a potential claim and this was not the case with which we were going to push the envelope."

Chen's house was raided and his computer seized after Gizmodo posted images of the prototype. The website and other media organizations objected, saying the raid was illegal because state law prohibits the seizure of unpublished notes from journalists.

"We feel there was not a crime to begin with and still believe that, and are pleased the DA's office has an appropriate respect for the First Amendment," said Thomas J. Nolan Jr., a lawyer for Chen.

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