Prominent internet lawyer Terry Gross is to defend teenage blogger Nicholas Ciarelli against a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer.

Mr Ciarelli has published for six years, a blog providing inside information and news scoops on Apple Mac computers.

ThinkSecret published a leaked report detailing Apple's new MacMini computer and iLife software ahead of the official announcement at Mac World on 11 January. Apple claims that ThinkSecret is illegally soliciting information from Apple employees in breach of confidentiality clauses in their contracts, and last week announced legal action against Mr Ciarelli.

The 19-year-old Harvard student said that Apple's decision "presents a troubling affront to the protections of the First Amendment" and claims that all his news stories were gathered using legal reporting processes.

Mr Ciarelli has been supported by free speech campaign group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which helped to recruit legal support. Mr Gross will be representing ThinkSecret on a pro bono basis.

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