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Feds Ask Judge to Hold Off Apple Hearing As FBI Says 'Outside Party' May Be Able to Unlock iPhone

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UPDATE, 7:56 p.m. ET: The hearing has been canceled.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal authorities have asked to hold off on a much-anticipated court hearing set for Tuesday over the FBI's demand for Apple to help unlock an encrypted iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers.

In a filing late Monday, federal prosecutors said "an outside party" has come forward and shown the FBI a possible method for unlocking the phone used by one of the shooters in the Dec. 2 terror attack. Authorities say they need time to determine if the method will work without compromising data on the phone.

If the method works, the government said, it would eliminate the need for Apple's assistance. Apple has fought the court order, saying the government's demand for assistance would make other iPhones vulnerable.

In a statement, U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman Melanie Newman says the government is "cautiously optimistic" that the possible method will work.

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