An appeals court has overturned a decision made in 2021 to dismiss a bribery charge against Apple’s head of global security. The security chief, Thomas Moyer, was accused of offering iPads valued at up to $80,000 to a sheriff’s office in exchange for concealed carry weapon licenses for Apple’s security personnel.
The panel of appeals judges asserted that even a mere “promise” to donate the iPads in return for obtaining concealed carry weapon licenses could potentially be interpreted as bribery. The iPads were never actually provided to the sheriff’s office.
The bribery charge against Moyer was initially brought in 2020 in California, within the context of a broader alleged pay-to-play scheme involving gun permits and the sheriff’s office. This scheme involved former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, who faced allegations of granting concealed carry weapons permits in exchange for political contributions or other favors. Smith was found guilty of corruption and willful misconduct in 2022.
The original indictment against Moyer, Undersheriff Rick Sung, and Captain James Jensen stated that Sung and Jensen refused to issue California concealed carry weapon licenses to Apple security without receiving something in return. Allegedly, Moyer offered to donate 200 iPads worth $40,000 to $80,000 to the sheriff’s office in exchange for the licenses. Moyer has consistently maintained that there was no connection between the iPad donation proposal and the license request, and the donation plan was eventually canceled.
Both Sung and Jensen have been charged with soliciting or accepting bribes, and their trials are scheduled for this year.
The trial court dismissed the case against Moyer in 2021. However, the appeals court recently reversed this decision and reinstated the bribery charge. In their ruling, the appeals judges, Justices Daniel Bromberg, Adrienne Grover, and Cynthia Lie, asserted that the evidence presented to the grand jury raised reasonable suspicions of bribery.
The judges noted that Apple’s pursuit of concealed carry weapon licenses was a logical response to increased threats against Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and the company’s executive protection team. Consequently, Apple decided to arm its executive protection team and seek CCW licenses for its members, many of whom were located in Santa Clara County.
The appeals court emphasized that the sheriff’s office never actually received the promised iPads, with Moyer suggesting the donation be postponed in light of media reports regarding CCW licenses and a subpoena. This decision was made without disclosing Apple’s CCW applications.
While the appeals court acknowledged the trial court’s previous finding that evidence wasn’t sufficient to establish Moyer’s corrupt intent, it noted that there were aspects suggesting otherwise.