Trayvon's Traveling Cell Phone

Excellent summation of the "traveling cell phone" by a LetJusticePrevail at the Conservative Tree House:

LetJusticePrevail" says:
February 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

The analysis by SD outlines some very interesting events, and perhaps even answers a few questions that even he did not raise. In particular, one nagging question about the travels of Trayvon Martin’s cell phone, who actually “handled” that phone, but most importantly, why was the phone sent to California to be examined by Perry Kuhl?

If you recall, the phone was taken into evidence by the SPD on the night of 2/26/12, and held as evidence. Initially, (on the scene) they tried to access the phone’s memory but (somehow) were unable to do so. The allegation, at that time, was that the phone was inaccessible either due to the fact that it got wet (it was raining on 2/26) or that because the phone’s battery was completely discharged. So, the SPD then sent the phone to the SCSO to have the memory accessed but, the SCSO was unable to unlock the phone because (after it had been charged) they were either unable to determine the “Swype code” (which prevents the phone being used by anyone other than the “authorized user) or because the phone was already completely “locked” as a result of too many attempts to guess the “Swype Code”.

This raises two questions:

1) Was the SPD actually so inept that they could not find a compatible charger for the phone, or
2) Did the SPD actually charge the phone, but then inadvertently cause the phone to “brick” by making too many attempts to “guess” the Swype Code?

None of the subsequent reports ever definitively answered those questions, so we don’t really know when the phone “bricked”, or who was responsible. But we know it certainly wasn’t Trayvon Martin, himself.

Continuing, we know that the SCSO returned the phone (in its “bricked state”) to the SPD, who then contacted T-Mobile (the provider of service) and were assured by T-Mobile that they could, indeed, assist with the unlocking of the phone if the account holder would provide the PIN for the master account. Subsequently, the SPD contacted Tracy Martin, under the assumption that he was the account holder, and would be willing to provide the PIN, which would assist T-Mobile and the SPD in their endeavors to unlock the phone and access the internal memory. But Tracy Martin refused to provide any PIN, and said that he would only assist them after speaking with his attorney (Ben Crump). Once again, we enter into a “gray area” because there is no definitive revelation about the communications (in regard to the PIN) between Crump and Tracy Martin. All we know is that Tracy later went on the record as saying that he would not assist the SPD in their investigation (cue the BGI, and their assertions that the SPD investigation was biased in favor of George Zimmerman’s account of what happened). Which raises two more questions:

3) Would Tracy have been able to provide a PIN that could have unlocked the phone, or
4) Was Sybrina Fulton the only person who could provide the correct PIN?

Either way, we know that both Tracy and Sybrina both had a vested interest in preventing (or at least stalling) access to the memory since it would not only damage the image (of Trayvon) that they were manufacturing, but would also reveal Tracy “Fruit” Martin’s communications with Trayvon about Trayvon’s desire to acquire a firearm, and Tracy’s participation in those efforts. But, I digress. Back to the phone, itself, and its whereabouts.

After the SPD failed to access the internal memory, the phone supposedly was kept in their evidence locker until it was eventually placed in storage at the FDLE OROC evidence vault in Orlando (signed in by “Jackie Blue” on 3/22/12), where it was (allegedly) kept until signed out by Detective Dale Gilbreath, (October 5th of 2012) and Fedex’d ( a full week later on Oct 12th) to Detective Perry Kuhl of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. At that time, Perry Kuhl was considered to be one of the nation’s foremost experts in “carving” (a process of accessing internal phone memories by attaching wires directly to the motherboard of the phone, bypassing all of the phone’s security software) cell phones that had “bricked”. And that is exactly what Perry Kuhl did. He removed the case of the phone, attached wires to the motherboard, and accessed the phone’s memory, compiled a report (that included the “Swype Code”), then put the pieces into a package and Fedex’d everything back to Detective Dale Gilbreath. (who received it on Oct 31st). It’s well worth noting that, at this point, Dale Gilbreath (of the 4th District SAO) not only had a bin file generated by Perry Kuhl, but also had everything necessary to access the entire contents of Travon’s phone. He had the phone, itself, the Swype Code necessary to access the memory, and also had IT experts in the FDLE who had the forensic edition of the Cellebrite Corporations software that could reveal not only what was retained in the memory, but also any information that had been deleted. Yet, for some unknown reason, Gilbreath kept the phone until Nov 8th before he returned the phone to FDLE SA Supervisor David Lee, who gave it to FDLE SA Stephen Brenton (on Nov 9th) for analysis. The whereabouts of the phone after that point is vague, until it was (on January 13th 2013) personally escorted to the Cellebrite Corporation in .New Jersey by SA Stephen Brenton, and finally signed back into the FDLE OROC evidence vault (Jan 18th by Jackie Blue) Wow. That’s a LOT of examination for one little phone, isn’t it? One has to wonder why the State Attorney’s office was so intent to access the memory of the phone, since they already knew it had shut off during the confrontation between GZ and TM, and they already had access to any photos or videos that TM may have taken (but could not have himself possibly deleted) that would have any relevance to the incident on 2/26/12, itself. In short, why was the SA office so interested in the phone’s memory, since it could not contain a single hidden thing that could aid their prosecution of GZ? And I’ve skipped over a LOT of questions to present the story of “the Travelling Phone”:

5) Why did Dale Gilbreath keep the phone for 1 week before shipping it to Perry Kuhl?
6) Why ship the phone to Perry Kuhl instead of to FDLE or Cellebrite in the 1st place?
7) Why did Dale Gilbreath keep the phone for 8 days before giving it to David Lee?
8) Where was the phone between Nov 9th and Jan 13th when Brenton flew it to NJ?
9) Why did Brenton personally fly the phone to NJ instead of shipping it like Gilbreath had?
10) Why take the phone to Cellebrite, at all?

Throughout that period of time we were all very concerned about the GPS data the phone contained, in hopes that it would help determine Trayvon’s travels on 2/26/12, and whether it could show that Trayvon had gone somewhere other than witness 8 claimed, or whether Trayvon had hidden near the “T” intersection to await George, or even if Trayvon had gone to Brandy Green’s residence and then returned to the “T” to attack George. But, mysteriously, the GPS data for that one date was missing from the phone, and no plausible explanation was ever made to explain that gap in data. It was never determined whether the GPS feature had been shut off by Trayvon Martin, or if the data was present and had been (somehow) deleted. But, more significantly, there appears to be no attempt made (even by the defense) to determine what happened to that data. It was simply just accepted as a “fact of life” and never properly investigated, or even explained. To this day, what happened to that GPS data remains a question that neither the prosecution or defense ever asks, let alone tries to answer. The prosecution has every reason to suppress this information, since their prosecution could not benefit from the data, but why didn’t the defense scream “bloody murder” about it? But again, I have digressed. This thread is about Ben Kruidbos, and his suit, not about the phone,or GZ’s defense, itself.

SD already laid out Kruidbos’s involvement in the trial, and how his testimony (or attempt to deliver it) revealed BDLR’s (and Corey’s) deceitful (and illegal) suppression of evidence. He also laid out how Conner’s testimony revealed “Fruit’s” involvement to procure a gun for Trayvon, and the revelation that Trayvon’s phone was on an account held by Sybrina, and not Tracy (a point that Conner.does not express with certainty, but does express his belief of, to the best of his memory-an answer that the defense should have clarified by other means, and which makes one wonder why the defense did not pursue it). Yet, at any rate, there is obfuscation involved on the part of the prosecution. So how does all of this answer the 10 questions I raised?

1+2) The SPD had zero motivation to “stall” access to the phone, and even an idiot could read the model number of the phone and find a compatible charger. I believe this WAS done, and that it was someone at the SPD who managed to cause the phone to “brick”.so they sent to phone to the SCSO hoping they could access it, but the SCSO fell short of that, but helped to “hide” the ineptitude of the SPD by simply not mentioning whether the phone was already “bricked” by the time they initially accessed it.

3+4) Tracy may or may not have had knowledge of the correct PIN for the account, even if it was in Sybrina’s name. She could have given it to him on a prior occasion so that he would be able to pay the bills. It’s also possible that the account was set up with “tiered” access which would allow Tracy to inquire about the billing, but not make changes to the account, itself. (this would explain why the phone record provided by Crump had the name “Tracy” included in the T-Mobile call record for Trayvon’s phone, and also why the record provided by Crump did not include the “header page” that would have named the actual account holder). I believe it WAS in Sybrina’s name, and that Crump wanted to hide that fact to divert attention to Tracy, while Crump and Sybrina worked behind the scenes in Miami Gardens to cultivate the “DeeDee” persona, and her eventual “testimony.”

5) I believe there is no plausible explanation why Gilbreath would retrieve the phone from the FDLE OROC evidence vault and hold it for a week unless he was trying to access the memory himself, and that he had a specific reason for doing so. By this time, the prosecution already knew that there were problems with witness 8 (they learned as much on Aug 2nd) and (I suspect) they had become aware of the conversations about guns and/or drugs. They also realized it would be very damaging to their case if this was discovered by the defense, so Gilbreath (at the least) wanted to know what BDLR had to prepare for, or (probably) even wanted to remove that evidence from the phone. But he still could not get access to the memory because (possibly under instructions from Crump) Tracy and/or Sybrina (or both) did not provide the PIN, thereby keeping T-Mobile from assisting in the unlocking of the phone. So, Gilbreath sent out “feelers” to find someone to assist his efforts. He probably even communicated with BDLR (or Corey, herself) to provide a “situation report.”

6) I believe Perry Kuhl was chosen to “carve” the phone not only because of his expertise (something that Cellebrite Corporation could have also done) but also because he could do so “off the record” and, since he was LEO himself, would be sympathetic to the prosecutors, rather than be entirely neutral. And, bear in mind, the defense only learned about the phone’s trip to CA after a specific request for the “chain of evidence” documentation. I believe that the prosecutors had no intention of informing the defense that Kuhl had already helped them access the phone’s memory. Also, since Kuhl was out-of-state, the prosecution had an additional layer of red tape to hinder the defense from deposing Kuhl, or summoning him to testify about his involvement with the phone, and what he found on it. And his involvement also acted as a “failsafe” if the plot was discovered. He was an additional person who could have possibly deleted/”lost” information from the phone, including the GPS data and the texts about guns, leaving the element of uncertainty and “reasonable doubt” as to whether it was someone in the 4th district SA office (Gilbreath) or the FDLE (Brenton) who deleted information from the phone (both of which could be directly associated with Angela Corey and BDLR). If nothing else Kuhl’s involvement would provide “reasonable doubt” should the plot be uncovered, if not “plausible deniability”..

7) I believe that Dale Gilbreath kept the phone for 8 days after receiving it from Kuhl, but before handing it over to David Lee for a specific purpose. Just like I believe he kept it for a full week before sending it to Kuhl, in the first place. Once he had the Swype Code, Gibreath had full access to the phone’s memory and could delete all incriminating evidence from it, which HAD to be done before the phone could be sent to the FDLE for “official” analysis.

8) Between November 9th and January 13th the phone was delivered to the FDLE for analysis. WHY it took so long is a mystery.

9) I believe that Stephen Brenton personally flew with the phone to NJ in January 2013 to expedite the process. By this time, the defense was inquiring about the phone requesting access to it, and I believe this put the prosecution into a mad rush to establish a believable timeline for their investigation of the contents of the phone, but one that (conveniently) would obfuscate their having Perry Kuhl access the phone in Oct 2012, and Dale Gilbreath’s un-monitored (and un-explained) handling of the phone. (remember-he’s NOT a “phone or IT expert”)

10) SO, I believe, they sent Brenton to the Cellebrite Corporation with the phone to enable them to provide another (less incriminating) explanation of how and when the phone was accessed.

Going full circle,this returns us to the point of asking WHY was all this done? WHY go to all this trouble to get information from the phone that could NOT assist the prosecution in any way? As I outlined, it was not possible for the phone to contain any photos or videos taken by Trayvon Martin that would bolster their case against George Zimmerman. And the prosecution already had the testimony of “DeeDee” (Rachel Jeantel) to establish their narrative of what they allege transpired that night. They didn’t need anything that was on Trayvon’s phone. But (I believe) they DID need to prevent the defense from having access to what they knew was on the phone. Part of which were the texts about guns between Trayvon and “Fruit” and Trayvon and Rachel Jeantel. And possibly, the GPS data that would have shown whether Trayvon hid at the “T” or left, and returned there.