Judge: No Steve Jobs for you

Rejects request by the AP, Bloomberg and CNN to release Jobs' 2011 video deposition for just-concluded antitrust case

Photo credit: Danny Novo/Flickr

A federal judge Wednesday ruled that a two-hour video deposition recorded by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs will not be released to the press and public.

Last week a trio of news organizations -- the Associated Press, Bloomberg and CNN -- had asked U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to force Apple to release the video, which was recorded in April 2011 and shown during the recent trial of a case alleging Apple stymied competition of its iPod digital music players.

The jury cleared Apple of all charges in a unanimous verdict Tuesday.

While 27 minutes of Jobs' video deposition were shown to the jury and a transcript had been made public, the news companies wanted copies of the complete deposition. Apple countered, implying that the news companies only wanted the video to boost viewership and traffic to their websites.

Rogers rejected the news firms' motion, agreeing with Apple that the deposition had not been entered as a trial exhibit, and was instead "presented in lieu of live testimony due to the witness's unavailability, and was and should be treated in the same manner as any other live testimony offered at trial."

Because cameras are not allowed in federal trials, Rogers said, releasing the Jobs deposition would essentially circumvent that ban.

She also sided with Apple when the company argued that releasing the video could discourage others from sitting for a deposition. "The court also recognizes the public policy concern ... that if releases of video depositions routinely occurred, witnesses might be reticent to submit voluntarily to video depositions in the future, knowing they might one day be publicly broadcast," said Rogers. "If cameras in courtrooms were not currently prohibited, the argument might have less weight."

Although Rogers only mentioned it in passing, Apple's real reason for wanting to withhold the video may have been Jobs' physical condition during the deposition, which was recorded while he was on a final medical leave and just months before his death from pancreatic cancer.

In his last public appearance in July 2011, Jobs was visibly frail.

"Mr. Jobs is the only witness in this case whose testimony the broader public would ever see," Apple's lawyers said last week in their motion. "The public's view of...almost ten years of litigation would be shaped entirely by a few minutes of one witness's testimony."


Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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