Apple's lawyer just tore into the government -- here's what he said

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Apple Stands Its Ground Against FBI's Request For Invasive Software

Apple just held a press conference to respond to the Department of Justice's brief in its ongoing effort to force Apple to cooperate with the FBI in unlocking the alleged San Bernardino shooter's iPhone.

Here is what Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell just said:

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We received the brief just over an hour ago and honestly we're still absorbing it but we wanted to get a couple of points out for you guys as you're working your way through it.

First, the tone of the brief reads like an indictment. We've all heard Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch thank Apple for its consistent help in working with law enforcement. Director Comey's own statement that "there are no demons here." Well, you certainly wouldn't conclude it from this brief. In 30 years of practice I don't think I've seen a legal brief that was more intended to smear the other side with false accusations and innuendo, and less intended to focus on the real merits of the case.

For the first time we see an allegation that Apple has deliberately made changes to block law enforcement requests for access. This should be deeply offensive to everyone that reads it. An unsupported, unsubstantiated effort to vilify Apple rather than confront the issues in the case.

See photos from the House Judiciary Committee Hearing:

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San Bernardino/Apple hearing
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Apple's lawyer just tore into the government -- here's what he said
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: Apples General Council Bruce Sewell testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: Apples General Council Bruce Sewell testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: Apples General Council Bruce Sewell testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: (from left to right) Bruce Sewell, Apples General Counsel, Susan Landau, Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Cyrus Vance, District Attorney, New York County are sworn in during a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: Apples General Council Bruce Sewell sets up an iPad Pro before testifying before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: Apples General Council Bruce Sewell talks with colleagues in the chambers before testifying at a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MARCH 1: FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a House Judiciary Committee Hearing on Apple's denial of the FBI's request to provide a way to hack into one of the San Bernardino terrorists phones at the Capitol in Washington, USA on March 1, 2016. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01: Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) listens to testimony from Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey during a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled 'The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy,' on Capitol Hill, March 1, 2016 in Washington, DC. Apple is fighting a court order requiring them to assist the FBI in opening the encrypted iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. testifies before the House Judiciary Committee on the encryption of the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino attackers on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 1, 2016. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 1: Bruce Sewell, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Apple, Inc., arrives to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled 'The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy,' on Capitol Hill, March 1, 2016 in Washington, DC. Apple is fighting a court order requiring them to assist the FBI in opening the encrypted iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Or the ridiculous section on China where an AUSA, an officer of the court, uses unidentified Internet sources to raise the spectre that Apple has a different and sinister relationship with China. Of course that is not true, and the speculation is based on no substance at all.

To do this in a brief before a magistrate judge just shows the desperation that the Department of Justice now feels. We would never respond in kind, but imagine Apple asking a court if the FBI could be trusted "because there is this real question about whether J. Edgar Hoover ordered the assassination of Kennedy -- see ConspiracyTheory.com as our supporting evidence."

We add security features to protect our customers from hackers and criminals. And the FBI should be supporting us in this because it keeps everyone safe. To suggest otherwise is demeaning. It cheapens the debate and it tries to mask the real and serious issues. I can only conclude that the DoJ is so desperate at this point that it has thrown all decorum to the winds.

We know there are great people in the DoJ and the FBI. We work shoulder to shoulder with them all the time. That's why this cheap shot brief surprises us so much. We help when we're asked to. We're honest about what we can and cannot do. Let's at least treat one another with respect and get this case before the American people in a responsible way. We are going before court to exercise our legal rights. Everyone should beware because it seems like disagreeing with the Department of Justice means you must be evil and anti-American. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Read reaction to the FBI/Apple debate:

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FBI battles with Apple over San Bernardino shooters' iPhone, social reax
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Apple's lawyer just tore into the government -- here's what he said
This is the most important tech case in a decade. Silence means @google picked a side, but it's not the public's. https://t.co/mi5irJcr25
I stand with Apple on privacy and FBI demand. It's not just marketing for @tim_cook and wasn't for Jobs. https://t.co/cZ1DOEs2RA
4/5 But that’s wholly different than requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data. Could be a troubling precedent
Apple has no problem trying to gather every bit of our personal data for marketing but obligated to protect privacy of dead mass murderers?
Any communications/tech CEO that isn't standing with Apple against the FBI is basically admitting that they've already been compromised.
Journalists: Crucial details in the @FBI v. #Apple case are being obscured by officials. Skepticism here is fair: https://t.co/lEVEvOxcNm
.@FBI “We want to get inside the iPhone no matter what.” @tim_cook “Not a chance.” FBI: “What if we made an album?” Tim: “I’m listening…”
Refusing access to #FBI shows terrorists they can get around FBI. Let's be clear: Apple is doing a service for our adversaries! #AppleVsFBI
"A man who is willing to trade security for liberty deserves neither." - Benjamin Franklin #AppleVsFBI #currentevents
The @FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on #Apple to defend their rights, rather than the other way around. https://t.co/vdjB6CuB7k
#AppleVsFBI is so much bigger than people realize. Keeping a close eye on this one
Speech can only be free when it is protected. —@mcuban #AppleVsFBI https://t.co/m41wKR31ET https://t.co/ng71CmYjeS
#Apple #AppleVsFBI Thanks @tim_cook for taking a stand https://t.co/tgWprQESyK https://t.co/qmFhovqIOl
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. Way to go #Apple. Born free staying free. #AppleVsFBI
Steve Jobs would've literally laughed in the FBI's face about them wanting Apple to create a backdoor to hack into a phone. #AppleVsFBI
Every candidate needs a mandatory 1 day crash course on encryption before poisoning public understanding of issue #GOPTownHall #AppleVsFBI
Keeping us safe by chipping away at our ability to preserve our right to privacy is the first step toward not being safe. @FBI #AppleVsFBI
So the company that put an entire U2 album onto my iPhone without asking is now all about privacy? #AppleVsFBI
There are no exceptions, we should never go down the slope of sacrificing privacy for the sake of security. #AppleVsFBI
Apple is right -- no matter how justified it may seem, turning over that data would set a terrible precedence. #ApplevsFBI
Thank you Tim Cook for making public a conflict that every citizen of the U.S. should be paying attention to. #AppleVsFBI
We should be less worried about apple and more worried about how the FBI can't get passed a locked iPhone #AppleVsFBI
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