Apple surprised at DoJ's request to cross-examine witnesses

The company speculates that government isn't comfortable with its case.

On Wednesday the Department of Justice asked that its hearing with Apple on March 22 concerning the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter, Syed Farook be an evidentiary hearing. What that means is that both sides will be able to cross-examine witnesses that have made declarations to the courts. During a conference call with reporters, Apple attorneys said they were surprised by the last-minute request and said that this is something that should been asked for weeks ago.

The Apple attorneys then speculated that the DoJ made the request because the government isn't comfortable with relying only on its legal arguments in the case.

Apple will be bringing its cryptography expert and product security and privacy manager Erik Neuenschwander and manager of Apple's global privacy and law enforcement compliance team, Lisa Ollie. The FBI will be bringing the two agents that filed declarations about the case.

The way the questioning will work is that witnesses will be brought up for cross-examination based on their declarations to the courts. When that is done, the side that brought the individual will then have an opportunity to question their own witness.

The hearing will begin at 1pm on March 22 (the day after the big Apple event) with Magistrate Judge Pym kicking off the proceedings with her own comments.