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Court Releases Wrong Apple Documents

AP

In a stunning twist to the ongoing drama surrounding the Apple iPhone prototype, the San Mateo County Court unsealed the wrong documents earlier today connected to this case.

An attorney representing several media outlets had petitioned the court to release the search warrant connected to blogger Jason Chen and the seizure of his home computers and other technology.

Instead, court authorities released the search warrant connected to suspect Brian Hogan and not the document related to Chen.

In this additional document, blogger Jason Chen is now identified as a "suspect" in this case, and that investigators had probable cause to search his home for more evidence about how he came to possess the iPhone prototype.

According to the warrant, Det. Matthew Broad of the San Mateo County Sheriff's office said, "Based upon my training and experience, I believe the evidence of the theft of the iPhone prototype, the vandalism of the iPhone prototype, and the sale of its associated trade secrets will be found in — or upon — the items requested in appendix X."

He goes on to say that "computers, cameras and other digital storage devices would likely have been utilized to create copies of the iPhone prototype and to communicate with co-conspirators regarding the sale, transfer and publication of the iPhone prototype." Hence the reason Chen's computers and other technology were taken. It seems clear that law enforcement not only knew of Chen's blogger status, but that it was communicated clearly to Judge Clifford Cretan in the search warrant request.

The release of the additional warrant surrounding Hogan's involvement in this case is almost an embarrassment of riches for information-starved media looking to get a new line into this investigation. Media outlets, including Wired.com, C/Net, the Los Angeles Times and others were hoping to get access merely to the documents related to Chen and the reasons why investigators went after the Gizmodo blogger.

In this new, 20 page document, investigators make the claim that Chen and others have committed a felony in connection with theft of trade secrets, which mirrors the wording in the Hogan warrant.

Also, the hapless Apple engineer Gray Powell who lost the iPhone prototype and set off this wave of intrigue, says it was in his bag, and at some point during the evening, may have fallen out, and he was certain he had lost it at the bar.

Meantime, the warrant says the person who found the phone and allegedly sold it to Gizmodo, Brian Hogan, was fingered by his roommate, Katherine Martinson who told police that she was worried that the iPhone prototype could be traced back to her because he had connected it to her computer.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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