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U.S. Federal Prosecutors Drop Xbox Modder Case

U.S. Federal Prosecutors Drop Xbox Modder Case

December 2, 2010 | By Tom Curtis

December 2, 2010 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC

U.S. federal attorneys in the first-ever case on illegally modded game consoles dropped their prosecution against Matthew Crippen today after one of its witnesses introduced previously undisclosed information in his testimony.

The case was dismissed after new claims by witness Tony Rosario, an ESA investigator who had paid Crippen to install a mod chip on an Xbox 360. Rosario claimed today that he saw Crippen put a pirated game into a modded console, which he failed to mention in his testimony from Wednesday, reports Wired's Threat Level blog.

This new testimony would have proven that Crippen knowingly violated copyright law. But the information was nowhere to be found in written reports, and the defense objected to the testimony on the grounds that the prosecution had not disclosed this information until today.

The dismissal follows the sudden break for recess yesterday, when U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez berated the prosecution for legal and technical issues regarding its argument.

Matthew Crippen was charged with two counts of violating the Digital Millenium Copywright Act, and upon conviction, would have faced up to 10 years in prison.

Crippen told Wired he plans to pursue a career as a high school teacher, which would have been impossible had he been convicted of a felony in this case.

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