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Xbox 'modding' trial in Los Angeles stalled as judge lectures prosecutors

December 1, 2010 |  5:40 pm

Xbox Matthew Crippen, on trial in Los Angeles for allegedly modifying –- or "modding" -- Xbox 360 video game consoles to play pirated games, will have to wait a while longer to learn his fate, a website reported.

If federal prosecutors have their way, the 28-year-old could face up to 10 years in prison. But first they’ll have to get past U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez, who at the moment doesn’t seem too kindly disposed toward them.

According to Wired, Gutierrez delivered a 30-minute rant complaining about the government's case against Crippen before opening statements could even start Wednesday.

Key among his concerns: Prosecutors plan to call two witnesses who may have broken the law.

One is an investigator who secretly videotaped Crippen playing allegedly unauthorized games in his Anaheim home. The other is a Microsoft employee who examined the consoles that Crippen is being accused of altering and then admitted that he had done the same in college.

Crippen is charged with two counts of violating the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for allegedly running a small business modifying Xboxes to play pirated games.

After the scolding, the prosecution asked for a recess to decide whether to offer Crippen a deal, dismiss the case entirely or move forward, Wired said.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: An Xbox 360 game console and controller. Credit: Kevin P. Casey / For The Times

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