Court Cancels iPhone Hearing After Department of Justice's Request

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Pieces of an iPhone are seen in a repair store in New York on February 17. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Updated | The federal court in Riverside, California canceled the highly anticipated Tuesday court hearing between the FBI and Apple, after the Department of Justice filed a brief citing a possible lead into cracking the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

Politico first reported that the Department of Justice may no longer need Apple's assistance in cracking the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, who killed 14 people in San Bernardino with his wife last December. In a legal filing filed Monday afternoon, they say an outside lead demonstrated a possible way to crack the phone on Sunday.

"Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook's iPhone," writes the federal lawyers. "If the method is viable, it should eliminate the need for the assistance from Apple set forth in the All Writs Act Order in this case."

California magistrate judge Sheri Pym, who initially gave the court order to Apple to comply with the FBI, agreed to the Department of Justice's request. "Good cause having been shown, the Court hereby orders that the hearing in this matter... is vacated." The hearing was scheduled to happen at 1 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday.

According to the brief, the federal lawyers contacted Apple's counsel to request Apple's backing on this application. While it is unclear whether Apple supports the postponement, Apple's counsel asked for a telephone conference with the court, according to the brief.

In return for vacating the hearing, federal lawyers say the government will file a status report by April 5.

California magistrate judge Sheri Pym, who initially gave the court order to Apple to comply with the FBI, has not made a decision as of press time. The hearing was scheduled to happen at 1 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday.

The article has been updated with the Court's order to vacate Tuesday's hearing.

Court Cancels iPhone Hearing After Department of Justice's Request | Tech & Science