The most talked about story in Silicon Valley in recent days now has a name to go with the line, "A guy walks into a bar..."
The man who found and sold the iPhone prototype to Gizmodo has come forward. He is 21-year-old Brian Hogan of Redwood City.
Hogan isn't talking, but his lawyer is. Attorney Jeffrey Bornstein said Brian made a mistake when took money from a Web site.
"He (Brian) regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone. His friend did tell him he called Apple Care. Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so that they could review the phone," Bornstein said in a statement.
Apparently, Hogan thought Gizmodo's money was payment for allowing the site exclusive access to review the phone.
Bornstein said Gizmodo told his client, "that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press."
The lawyer says Hogan got the phone when someone asked if it was his while leaving the bar. He asked around and when he couldn't find the owner either, he took it home.
Hogan is far from off the legal hook in this case. He has been interviewed by San Mateo authorities but has yet to be charged with a crime.
From Wired: The person who found the phone “is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft,” San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe told Wired.com Wednesday. “Assuming there’s ultimately a crime here. That’s what we’re still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?”
The blogger who bought the phone is also in legal hot water.
Last Friday investigators came to Fremont home of the blogger who purchased the phone armed with a search warrant. They took computers, hard drives, digital cameras and cell phones. They also took Jason Chen's American Express bill and copies of his checks. Chen was not arrested.
Gawker Media, who owns Gizmodo, claims California's Shield Law protects Chen from having to turn over anonymous sources or unpublished material. They say the law should apply in this case.
Here's the complete statement from Jeffrey L Bornstein, K&L Gates LLP, Attorneys for Brian Hogan.
Regarding Lost iPhone, April 29,2010
"We represent a 21 year-old young man, Brian Hogan, who has never been in troublewith the law. Brian was in a bar with friends when another bar patron handed him the phone after finding it on a bar stool near the area where Brian was sitting. Brian
said the phone was not his but the bar patron walked away from the conversation and left the bar. Brian asked others near him if the phone belonged to them. When they disclaimed ownership, Brian and his friends left the bar with the phone.
Brian opened the phone onto a Facebook page but then the phone shut down. From that time on, the phone was inoperable the entire time Brian had it. He regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone. His friend did tell him he d called
Apple Care. Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so that they could review the phone. Brian believed and Gizmodo emphasized to him that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone
with the tech press. Brian has been and is willing to cooperate. Brian s friends describe him as a kind, caring and respectful young man who has done everything he could to cooperate with law enforcement. He is a college student who recently transferred schools and will resume his education in the fall semester. Brian has been working part time at a Church run community center where he was teaching swimming to kids age 3 to 10. He also has taught English in China to college students and volunteered at a Chinese orphanage in 2009 while enrolled in a study abroad program through college. In that same year, Brian volunteered in
Vietnam to plant a friendship garden. He also volunteers to assist his aunt and sister with fundraising for their work to
provide medical care to orphans in Kenya. Brian is the kind of young man that any parent would be proud to have as their son."