Apple’s had a rough go of it since the untimely death of Founder, CEO, and Inventor of the Tactical Turtleneck Steve Jobs. Not even Siri (especially not Siri) could answer where the awesome had gone.

The Onion captured the general sense of malaise emanating from Cupertino both here and here.

Tech observers might point to today’s unveiling of a new operating system that looks decidedly unterrible as the turning point for the company.

But the real turning point was probably when Apple got its own Clarence Darrow…

Orin Snyder

Orin Snyder of Gibson Dunn is widely recognized as a premier trial lawyer. He’s represented celebrities and tech giants.

Most importantly, he sat down and answered questions for ATL.

But now that Snyder and Gibson Dunn have started representing Apple, the tech giant is starting to get its legal bearings. And not just because Gibson Dunn hasn’t provided the same speed bumps for Apple that a firm like, oh, say, Morgan Lewis provided.

The Department of Justice is going after Apple for allegedly conspiring with publishers to drive up the price of ebooks. But the government’s case suffered a setback on the witness stand when a star government witness broke like the killer on an old Perry Mason episode because DOJ lawyers seemed oblivious to prepping their witnesses.

The witness was Thomas Turvey, Google’s director of strategic partnerships, who the government needed to testify about all the meetings he had with publishers back in the day:

So is this the kind of guy the DOJ wanted to take a shot at someone like Turvey? At best, the Google executive was utterly unprepared on the witness stand. At worst, he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Turvey, who in early 2010 was trying to help get Google’s ebook business get off the ground, testified on the stand and in an affidavit that the publishers had told him directly they were switching business models because of their deals with Apple. This was supposed to help prove that Apple was pushing the book publishers to adopt a business model that would force Amazon to give up control of its ebook pricing. The government claims that Apple wanted to eliminate Amazon’s ability to discount and thereby remove one of its most important competitive advantages.

The confrontation played out like a scene from Law and Order. On TV a witness will often crack under questioning and spill important info. In real life, it rarely plays out that way. Yet, that’s exactly what happened to Turvey. Snyder bombarded Turvey with questions about the meetings in which the publishers supposedly gave him this info and Turvey couldn’t provide any details: no names, dates, or places. Snyder kept up the pressure and eventually Turvey became so rattled that he started to change his story from one minute to the next.

Note to anyone who worries about a far-reaching DOJ plot to spy on Americans: these are the Keystone Kops you suspect of running a massive conspiracy.

Kudos to Apple on their success. And kudos to Gibson Dunn for generating some positive press after “Sweeskirtping-gate.”

Meet Orin Snyder, the deadliest trial lawyer in tech [The Verge]

Earlier: The ATL Interrogatories: 10 Questions with Orin Snyder
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