Perhaps the most dramatic moment of the three-week Apple e-book conspiracy trial came at the very end of the sixth day, when the U.S. Department of Justice revealed a shocking bit of evidence: an email that Steve Jobs purportedly wrote that showed Apple(AAPL) forced e-book publishers to change their existing deals with Amazon(AMZN).
In the email, Jobs tells Apple software and services VP Eddy Cue that he'd agree to Cue's suggested price tiers only if publishers forced Amazon to switch to a so-called agency model. In that type of deal, which Apple pushed, the publisher sets the price and the retailer takes a cut off the top. Amazon had been using a "wholesale model," in which Amazon set the price instead.
The DOJ presented the email as a smoking gun that demonstrated that Apple was the "ringleader" in pitting the publishers against Amazon -- the issue at the center of the case.
The only problem: Jobs never sent the email. It was a draft.
In fact, Apple's defense showed four other drafts in which the "move Amazon to agent model" language had disappeared. That showed Jobs changed his thinking, the defense said. Cue's take: Jobs never sent any of the emails because he was confused about how the different provisions worked.
Fortune's Apple 2.0 blogger Phil Elmer-Dewitt, who reported from the trial over the past several weeks, said he felt like the DOJ "pulled a fast one."