A 21-year-old who sold a prototype of the new iPhone to the Gizmodo tech news site "regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone," said the attorney for the man, identified by Wired.com on Thursday as Brian J. Hogan.
Jeffrey Bornstein. who Wired.com said was Hogan's attorney, released a statement to the Web site about his client: "He regrets his mistake in not doing more to return the phone ... Even though he did obtain some compensation from Gizmodo, Brian thought that it was so that they could review the phone."
The case, dubbed "iPhone-gate," has taken several twists and turns since an Apple software engineer left the iPhone prototype about a month ago in a bar in Redwood City, Calif., 20 miles from the company's headquarters.
The phone was purchased for $5,000 by Gizmodo, which shared photos and information about the device, made by one of the world's most secretive technology companies. The new model is due to be announced in June.
Last week, with search warrant in hand, authorities seized computers, digital cameras, a cell phone and other items from the home and car of Gizmodo editor and blogger Jason Chen, likely in an effort to track down information about the person who sold the phone.
Gizmodo is challenging the search warrant, saying that it violated shield laws protecting journalists from search-and-seizure without a subpoena. "The San Mateo County district attorney’s office said this week that investigators will not examine the seized materials until the legality of the warrant has been resolved," Wired.com said.
Wired.com said it "identified Hogan as the finder of the prototype by following clues on social network sites, and then confirmed his identity with a source involved in the iPhone find."
"Hogan has been interviewed by law enforcement investigators but has not been charged with a crime. His attorney says he is willing to cooperate with authorities," according to Wired.com.
San Mateo County chief deputy district attorney Stephen Wagstaffe told Wired.com that the person who found the phone "is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft ... Assuming there’s ultimately a crime here. That’s what we’re still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?"