Brad’s cell phone and the 32 digit pass code

Brad’s cell phone is another subject worth discussing.  Throughout the trial, prosecutors tried to suggest that Brad placed a 32 digit pass code on his cell phone and that he, or someone close to him deleted most of the data from the phone.  They did this with full knowledge that it was Brad’s employer, Cisco who utilized two forms of software on company issued cell phones to protect proprietary information. This was the reason for the 32 digit code and removal of data.

First, Credant is an encryption software and is set up so that if the incorrect 4 digit pass code is entered, it will prompt one to enter a 32 digit code to unlock the phone. Second, Goodlink Mobile Guardian Shield is used so that Cisco can remotely decommission phones when someone’s employment is terminated.  Goodlink essentially wipes out all Cisco linked data from the phone for security purposes.  The prosecutors knew this.  But that didn’t stop them from attempting to make the case that something sinister happened with Brad’s phone, and the judge allowed them to do it.  They totally misled the jury about the deletion of data from the phone and the 32 digit code, even though they had documentation from Cisco specifying how the software works on the phones.

The prosecution even called a State witness to testify that he saw Brad’s attorney hand the cell phone to Brad’s mother at a hearing that occurred before his arrest – to imply that the attorneys played a role in the cell phone data being deleted.  The judge went right along with it!  Why did the judge allow this?  In essence as payback for accusing the Cary police of being inept and corrupt in the handling of the investigation and most of the evidence in this case.  He should have looked at this objectively and understood that there was clear documentation from Cisco describing exactly what happened with Brad’s phone after it was seized.  Cisco decommissioned the phone.  The judge knew this, yet despite this, he let the prosecutors mislead the jurors about this.

The facts about the phone:

  • Cary police confiscated all computers and electronic evidence on July 16, 2008….everything except for Brad’s Blackjack cell phone.  Why would this be?  They knew Brad claimed to have received a 6:40AM call on that phone from Nancy that morning when he was en route to the Harris Teeter grocery store. This was a problem for the investigators.  It didn’t fit their theory – that Brad killed Nancy sometime after she returned from the party just after midnight. To address that, they came up with another theory – that Brad must have somehow spoofed that call.  That’s why it’s very odd that they didn’t seize his cell phone.  They had opportunity to issue a search warrant and seize that phone at any time during the investigation up until Brad’s arrest in late October, but they didn’t.
  • When they finally took custody of the phone at the time of his arrest, they never made any attempt to review the dates surrounding Nancy’s disappearance and death.  They sent the phone to an FBI forensic expert to evaluate the phone but never gave him any instructions to look at the contents in that time frame.
  • The defense attorneys offered to give the prosecutors the code to get into the phone but they declined.
  • The phone was sent to the FBI to be analyzed a little over a year after Brad’s arrest. FBI agent (Charles Wilmore) testified that he was unable to get into the phone and was prompted by Credant software to enter a 32 digit code.  He notified the CPD who then contacted Cisco for the code.  Cisco supplied them with the code 10 weeks later.
  • After Wilmore entered the code, he was able to gain access to the contents.  While there was some data on the phone, most was wiped out by the Goodlink software shortly after Brad’s arrest.  There were still some messages and text messages on the phone.
  • IF investigators were so concerned with the data on the phone, WHY didn’t they seize it early on in the investigation and WHY didn’t they request information specific to those dates when they finally had it analyzed?  It’s very strange.
  • State witness Chris Fry from Cisco testified that the 32 digit pass code was a normal function of the Credant software.
  • Detective Jim Young testified that although he received the email from Cisco about the 32 digit code and how the software worked, he didn’t know if that was “accurate”.  It is interesting that he thinks Cisco was possibly wrong about the software they themselves utilize on the phones but he 100% trusted them when they laid out all the many ways that a phone can be spoofed.
  • Aside from the allegations that Brad put a 32 digit code on his phone, they also allege that the lifetime usage of the phone appeared to be just 31 minutes – suggesting that someone (Brad) reset the phone since phone records indicated there was much more usage on the phone.  In reality, the phone had 31 hours of lifetime usage. More misleading and false information in front of the jury.

After reviewing the testimony on this subject, it’s clear that nothing sinister occurred with Brad’s cell phone.  I can’t help being reminded of the “missing shoes” that were never asked for and never mentioned in the detective’s notes and not even in a search warrant until several months after the murder, yet the prosecutors went on and on about the “shoes that had never been found”.  How can they get away with this?  It is so misleading and dishonest. It’s similar with the cell phone. If they were truly interested in the contents of Brad’s cell phone, they should have seized it on July 16th when they took the rest of the electronic evidence into custody.

This whole thing did nothing but waste the court’s time and paint an unfair and false impression that someone intentionally erased Brad’s phone in an effort to hide something.  They did this knowing that Cisco’s software erased the phone remotely.  Then they went a step further by implying that Brad put a 32 digit code on it to keep them out.  False.  And that there was only 31 minutes of usage showing on the phone – also false. We need to be able to trust our justice system.  I lost my trust after watching this trial.  If they feel the need to fabricate evidence like this and the judge goes along with it, what does that tell us?  It tells me that they didn’t have a solid case against Brad Cooper so they had to make it appear that they did, dishonestly.  It also calls into question the reliability of everything they presented. Should anyone be surprised that the Defense accused police of being inept and corrupt?  This is but one of many, many examples of the dishonest investigation and unfair trial that convicted Brad Cooper.

The highlights of the testimony related to this phone and the judge’s ruling about it can be viewed below.

4 thoughts on “Brad’s cell phone and the 32 digit pass code

  1. These are all very good points and I agree. The question that comes to mind, however, is why didn’t the Defense counter these points during the trial? When the Prosecution tried to paint a sinister action on Brad’s behalf, why didn’t they call technical witnesses from Cisco to: 1) explain the company’s policy on erasing confidential data if an employee was terminated, and 2) explain the software they utilized to do so and how it worked. It’s obvious the judge allowed considerable activity, which was unethical and unlawful. At the same time, when the Prosecution tries to tell a completely bogus tale, why not respond with hard core facts to destroy their pie in the sky theories? Why not destroy those nonsensical allusion once and for all, so the jury can comfortably make decisions without confusion in their mind?


    • Did you watch the video? I thought they did counter it by pointing out the 31 hours, not minutes with Wilmore and questioning Fry about the 32 digit code and how it is used with the software.

      They also questioned Young about both of these things and the email from Cisco about how it works.


      • Plus you have to realize that this only came up a few weeks before the trial. I thought they addressed it just fine, but that didn’t stop the prosecutors for continuing to go on about it….just like the dress and the missing shoes.


  2. In response to all comments such as “why did the defense do this and why didn’t the defense do that?” The art of putting on a good defense includes knowing what not to challenge and what to “guess” is the correct way that jurors will interpret things. It was obvious during this trial that the prosecutors were painting Brad out to be some kind of technical genius. That meant that the more in depth the defense went to challenge technical information then they were playing the dangerous game of playing into the prosecution’s hand. There is a huge disadavntage that defense attorneys have in these cases that really should not exist if one were to actually believe in the premise “innocent until proven guilty”. We all mistakenly believe that this is the approach that a reasonable juror should take but in reality it simply is completely the other way around. When the prosecution throws out this type of material such as “the activity surrounding Brad’s cell phone security” (purely a Cisco internal safeguard) is suspicious, they don’t have to explain anything or prove anything to jurors anymore. The same goes with things like the “spoofed call”. The defense team is left with “how vigorously should we attack this” and the answer is most often “well it is just an allegation, unproven in any way” and there is the notion of “methinks one doth protest too much”. This is why the judge is very important (and a miserable failure in Brad’s case). This kind of extraneous and erroneous “evidence” should not be permitted to influence a jury. The judge knows beforehand what this evidence is and is supposed to weed out unfair and prejudicial evidence that has zero basis in fact or proven relevance.I know one thing about the Cooper case. His attorneys were very very good and you can bet that they knew what they were doing and that they did everything “advisable” from a defense point of view. The monster they were up against however proved to be the judge himself and that is a battle any attorney knows they won’t win in a trial. Bottom line, this judge, Paul Gessner should not be on the bench deciding traffic infractions let alone murder cases.


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