April 11 A federal appeals court on Friday threw
out the conviction of a man accused of stealing the personal
data of about 120,000 Apple Inc iPad users, including
big-city mayors, a TV network news anchor and a Hollywood movie
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the November 2012
conviction of Andrew Auernheimer by a jury in Newark, New
Jersey, and the resulting 41-month prison sentence, could not
stand because the case did not belong in that state to begin
Auernheimer had been convicted of one count of conspiracy to
access AT&T Inc servers without permission and one count
of identity theft.
"The improper venue here - far from where he performed any
of his allegedly criminal acts - denied Auernheimer's
substantial right to be tried in the place where his alleged
crime was committed," Circuit Judge Michael Chagares wrote for a
unanimous three-judge 3rd Circuit panel.
It was not immediately clear how the decision might affect
Daniel Spitler, a co-defendant who pleaded guilty in the case
and was sentenced to three years probation in January.
The office of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey,
which prosecuted the case, had no immediate comment. Lawyers for
Auernheimer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Spitler's lawyer did not immediately respond to similar
Prosecutors said people affected by the defendants'
activities included ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, former New
York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
and Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein, among others.
The appeal is Auernheimer v. U.S., 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, No. 13-1816.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jonathan