Apple vs. FBI: San Bernardino Victims to Seek Answers in Court Filing

With the tech giant refusing to unlock an iPhone linked to the terror attack, a lawyer representing victims plans a brief intended to bring “closure”

Victims of the San Bernardino shooting plan to file a brief in the federal government’s case against gadget giant Apple seeking the decryption of a phone that may hold answers related to the deadly attack, according to a lawyer representing them.

Stephen Larson, a former federal judge who is a partner in Los Angeles law firm Larson O’Brien, told TheWrap that the friend-of-the-court brief, which he plans to file by Mar. 3, would have wider concerns than those of the Department of Justice’s case, and would seek answers from both the department and Apple.

“The point here is to represent the interests of the victims, which are a little more broad than furthering the criminal investigation,” he said. He said the victims seek answers to questions like why they were targeted, how this incident could occur in San Bernardino — “the kind of questions that a victim would naturally have to seek closure,” he said.

Larson declined to further specify the arguments he plans for the coming brief.

Last week, a federal court ordered Apple to unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December attack that left 14 dead, but CEO Tim Cook said in a public letter that the company planned to resist the federal court order, which he says would force Apple to create a key that could jeopardize the digital privacy of consumers at large.

Larson declined to specify how many victims he was representing, saying he is reaching out to others about their interest.

“You can imagine some might have reservations,” he said.

The planned filing is what is known as an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief. These are documents submitted by a party that isn’t directly involved in the case at hand, but has an opinion on the matter it wishes the court to consider.

Reuters reported the victims’ plans earlier.

Apple declined to comment.