Apple Inc.’s chief security officer must face a criminal charge that he bribed California officials for gun licenses after a state appeals court revived a case that was dismissed two years ago.
(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc.’s chief security officer must face a criminal charge that he bribed California officials for gun licenses after a state appeals court revived a case that was dismissed two years ago.
A three-judge state appeals court panel ruled Friday that a lower court judge shouldn’t have thrown out a bribery charge against Thomas Moyer, who was accused of promising to donate 200 iPads to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office to gain approval for concealed firearm permits that had previously been withheld from four Apple employees.
The company pursued the gun permits starting in 2017 so that Apple’s executive protection team could be armed after Moyer’s staff reported receiving more serious threats against Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, according to the ruling.
A two-year investigation by the district attorney’s office found that two officials in the sheriff’s office held up the issuance of the concealed firearms licenses until the applicants gave something of value. In California, concealed weapon permits are issued by county sheriffs based on a finding of “good cause” to approve a resident’s application.
The iPad donations worth $50,000 to $80,000 were scuttled in 2019 when Moyer learned that the handling of weapons permits by the sheriff’s office was being investigated, according to the ruling.
In 2020, Moyer and the two sheriff’s officials were indicted by a grand jury. Moyer was charged with bribing an executive officer by making “a promise of iPads to the Sheriff’s Office” with the intent to influence an official action, according to the ruling.
Moyer’s lawyers then persuaded a county superior court judge to dismiss the charge on the grounds that a prosecutor gave erroneous instructions about the law to the grand jury.
The San Jose-based appeals court reversed that ruling, after the district attorney challenged it.
“This appeal raises a question not yet addressed by any California court: whether a public official may be bribed with a promise to donate to the official’s office,” the appeals panel wrote. “We conclude that such a promise may constitute a bribe.”
Apple said when Moyer was indicted the company had been made aware of the allegations, conducted an internal investigation and found no wrongdoing.
“Moyer is right back where he should be – on the trial calendar and charged with bribery,” Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in an emailed statement.
Ed Swanson, Moyer’s attorney, and Apple didn’t immediately respond late Friday to requests for comment. Swanson said when Moyer was indicted that his client is innocent.
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