iPads for gun permits scheme condemns Apple exec to bribery charge


We all know that iPads are nice. But offering them to police officers in exchange for concealed carry weapon permits is not a good idea – especially if you’re a high-ranking Apple executive.

On Friday, a tribunal of judges in California’s 6th District Court of Appeal reinstated a bribery charge for Thomas Moyer, Apple’s head of global security.

Prosecutors say that Moyer illegally offered to give more than $50,000 worth of iPads to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in exchange for a batch of concealed carry weapon permits for Apple’s executive security team, responsible for the protection of top company bosses, including Tim Cook, the chief executive.

What Moyer was seeking probably wasn’t unfair. The team protecting Apple’s executives didn’t carry firearms for a long time but decided it should get guns – and permits for them – when Cook started getting serious threats in around 2016.

For example, in 2022, a judge in California granted a restraining order against a Virginia woman who was stalking Cook, threatening to burn down his home in Palo Alto and trespassing on his property twice.

Lawyers for Apple told the court they believed the woman, who had been stalking the Apple CEO for over a year and had claimed Cook was the father of her children, was armed.

The problem, though, is that it’s not easy and quick to obtain a concealed carry weapon permit in California. Apple’s team filed for the permits in 2018 but it wasn’t until January 2019 that Laurie Smith, the-then Santa Clara County Sheriff, signed the licenses.

Even then, the applicants couldn’t pick up the guns. Instead, it seems, Moyer, frustrated with lack of progress on the paperwork, tried to bribe Santa Clara police.

The ruling says that Moyer, Smith, and Rick Sung, the sheriff’s office’s undersheriff, met at Apple Park in Cupertino. The document does not get into details but Moyer sent himself an email during the meeting with the subject line “iPad Donation.”

Immediately after the meeting, Moyer emailed the leader of Apple’s executive protection team that “you will have your permits shortly,” says the ruling.

The “donation” was organized over the next few months. And it got bigger – the Santa Clara County police asked for 200, not 50, iPads. Finally, in late March 2019, Apple’s executive protection team got their licenses.

Later that year, Moyer canceled the donation after in-team talks at Apple. But prosecutors were already looking into the sheriff’s office’s distribution of concealed weapon carry permits, and the grand jury soon indicted Moyer, Sung, and James Jensen, a police captain.

Moyer’s charge was dismissed by lower court in 2021 but prosecutors have now won their appeal. Former Sheriff Smith had already been found guilty of abusing her power to grant gun permits in a civil suit in 2022.


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