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The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled a defendant must turn over the passcodes for his two phones in response to a search warrant, opening the way for law enforcement to compel other defendants in the state to do the same.

The court's majority decision on Monday was supported by four justices with three dissenting in the case of a former Essex County sheriff’s officer who is suspected of helping a man charged with trafficking drugs, NJ Advance Media reported.

Robert Andrews was charged in 2016 for official misconduct, hindering and obstruction for passing on information about an ongoing law enforcement investigation to the suspect, who was in the same motorcycle club as him.

Andrews had appealed an order from a lower court to turn over the passcodes to his phones so authorities could execute a search warrant on phone calls and texts between the two men.

“It’s time to rethink whether you should keep anything simply private or personal on a personal electronic device because if the government wants it they can now get it,” said Charles J. Sciarra, Andrews’ attorney in a statement.

Sciarra argued, in part, that Andrews did not have to turn over the passcodes because the Fifth Amendment protected him from self-incrimination. But the court found the passcodes were not “testimonial” and noted Andrews did not challenge the search warrants, which give the state “the right to the cellphones’ purportedly incriminating contents,” the majority decision said.

Justice Jaynee LaVecchia, who authored the dissenting opinion, said the law had reached a crossroads.

“Will we allow law enforcement -- and our courts as their collaborators -- to compel a defendant to disgorge undisclosed private thoughts -- presumably memorized numbers or letters -- so that the government can obtain access to encrypted smartphones?” she wrote.

Andrews' attorney did not respond to the newspaper's questions about whether he would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court or turn over his passcodes.

In October, an Oregon court of appeals ruled in a similar case that a defendant there must enter the passcode into a phone found in her purse in response to a search warrant. She entered in the wrong code twice and was ordered to be held for 30 days in jail in contempt of court.

In another case in Louisiana, the FBI said it managed to unlock a defendant's phone before an appeals court issued a decision over whether the law compels him to disclose the password to his phone in response to a search warrant.



New York's highest court on Thursday turned down President Donald Trump's latest bid to delay a defamation suit filed by a former "Apprentice" contestant who accused him of unwanted groping and kissing.

The ruling by the state Court of Appeals didn't address either side's central arguments. But it means evidence-gathering in Summer Zervos' lawsuit can proceed, at least for now.

Zervos' lawyer, Mariann Wang, said she looks forward to continuing with the case "and exposing the truth."

Trump, who denies Zervos' allegations, is trying to get the case dismissed or postponed until after his presidency. A mid-level appellate court is due to consider that request in the fall.

Trump's lawyers at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP noted that Thursday's ruling didn't speak to their argument for tossing out the case: That a sitting president can't be sued in a state court.

Instead, the Court of Appeals said the case was simply in too early a stage for its consideration.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared in 2006 on the Republican president's former reality show, "The Apprentice."

She says he made unwanted advances when she sought career advice in 2007, then defamed her by calling her a liar after she came forward late in his 2016 presidential race. She is seeking a retraction, an apology and compensatory and punitive damages.



A New York court says former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos can proceed with her defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump, at least for now. A state appeals court on Thursday turned down a request by Trump's lawyers to delay the case while they appeal a lower-court decision.

Zervos appeared on Trump's former show, "The Apprentice," in 2006. She says he subjected her to unwanted groping and kisses when she sought a job in 2007.

When Trump called her a liar, she sued. Trump's lawyers want to freeze the case until an appeals court decides whether a president can be sued in state court. That's likely to take at least until fall.

The decision means Zervos' lawyers can proceed with demands that the president give a deposition and turn over documents.

A former Deere & Co. factory manager cannot sue the company under the Iowa Civil Rights Act because he worked and lived in China when he was disciplined for having sexual relationships with two Chinese woman also employed by the company, the Iowa Supreme Court said Friday.

The ruling establishes for the first time that the Iowa Civil Rights Act does not apply to circumstances that occur outside the state even though the parties involved may have some Iowa connection. The decision means the lawsuit filed by Matthew Jahnke will be dismissed.

Jahnke, who began working for Deere in 1998, took a job with the company in Harbin in the northeast part of China in 2011 to oversee the construction of a new factory and to manage it once completed.

In April 2014, Deere received internal reports that one of Jahnke's employees had "procured several very expensive luxury cars" for Jahnke, and helped Jahnke "find beautiful women" in exchange for favorable performance reviews. The reports prompted an investigation that revealed Jahnke had sexual relationships with two Chinese women who also worked at the Deere Harbin factory.

The company concluded that Jahnke violated its code of business conduct because he failed to timely disclose sexual relationships with women he managed.

The Deere employee responsible for the initial investigation concluded in his report that Jahnke, a 60-year-old man involved in a sexual relationship with a 28-year-old woman, could cause embarrassment and negative perception for the company and "there could be the obvious perception of an oldish factory manager abusing his influence/position—and create (sic) some possible exposure for the company."



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