Police raided a California online editor’s home and seized computers and servers after he published articles about the forthcoming version of the Apple iPhone, The New York Times Media Decoder blog reported.
Gizmodo, a site owned by Gawker Media, published the iPhone articles last week. Police on Friday broke down the door to editor Jason Chen’s home while he was away in order to execute a search warrant. Gizmodo had previously paid $5,000 for the phone from a person who found it at a bar in California last month.
Police at Chen’s home were executing the warrant because the government was reportedly considering whether to file criminal charges in connection with the sale of the phone, which was returned to Apple by Gizmodo last week.
Gawker’s chief operating officer, Gaby Darbyshire, on Saturday wrote a letter to the county authorities asking for the immediate return of the materials, asserting reporter’s privilege under the state shield law. In the letter, she stated that Chen is a journalist and works from home, making it a “de facto newsroom," and that state and federal law require the proper issuance of a subpoena if authorities need to confiscate unpublished newsgathering materials.