Apple's security chief will face charges over iPads-for-gun permits bribery claims

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Apple's security chief will face charges over bribery despite having them dismissed in 2021. He was originally charged way back in 2020.

A tribunal of judges in California’s 6th District Court of Appeal reinstated the charges last week, with prosecutors alleging that Thomas Moyer offered more than $50,000 worth of iPads to police in exchange for gun permits.

The permits were requested to allow Apple's security team to better protect CEO Tim Cook following threats and the process was deemed to be taking too long — so it's alleged Moyer offered 200 iPads to try and grease the wheels a little.


SFGate reports that the whole thing started when Moyer became concerned that Apple's executive protection team wouldn't be able to properly respond to serious threats made against Cook.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has already been found guilty in a civil suit after claims she abused her power to grant permits in exchange for campaign donations. And Moyer tried that route with little success. Apple reportedly "filed for the permits in 2018, but the paperwork appeared to make little progress, even as Moyer donated to Smith's reelection campaign." Undersheriff Rick Sung apparently "delayed the permit's processing and complained that members of Apple's team had supported Smith’s opponent."

This all led to a meeting at Apple Park, during which "iPad donations" were allegedly discussed. Up to 200 iPads were to change hands, and Apple got its permits in March 2019.

Moyer reportedly spoke to an Apple attorney and canceled the donations, but it was too late. "Litigation since has hinged on the definition of the word 'bribe,' as well as whether Moyer had “corrupt intent” in offering the iPad donation," SFGate reports. And the appeals court seems to have come to the conclusion that Moyer was indeed trying to bribe his way to a handful of permits after all.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.