Economy

Trump pardons a Google engineer accused of stealing Uber secrets

Trump pardons a Google engineer accused of stealing Uber secrets
Zoom in / Anthony Lewandowski is out of federal court in San Jose, California, on August 27, 2019.

David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images

On his last full day in office, Donald Trump Pardons Anthony Lewandowski, the engineer at the heart of Waymo’s epic 2017 battle of trade secrets with Uber. Last year, Lewandowski Admission of guilt To steal one confidential Google document; The prosecutors agreed to drop the other charges pending against him.

Lewandowski was an early major member of Google’s self-driving car project, but he left Google in early 2016 to establish his self-driving startup. Within months, Uber acquired the startup for a nine-figure sum, and Lewandowski took charge of Uber’s self-driving efforts.

But then, Google’s autonomous driving unit – now known as Waymo – accused Lewandowski of stealing trade secrets. According to Waymo, Levandowski downloaded thousands of confidential documents from Google in his final days as a Google employee. Waymo says it received a notification about the theft after Uber provided a design for a lidar circuit board to an outside vendor – a vendor also used by Waymo. Uber’s design almost matched that of Waymo.

Waymo filed a lawsuit against Uber On theft. When Lewandowski summoned the Fifth Amendment in place of testimony in the civil case, Uber fired him. Waymo and Uber Settle their lawsuit In early 2018. Lewandowski was eventually ordered to pay Waymo $ 179 million, forcing him to do so. Declare bankruptcy.

Then federal prosecutors charged Lewandowski with 30 criminal counts of theft of trade secrets. After Lewandowski pleaded guilty, a judge Sentenced to 18 months in prison in August.

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Lewandowski has argued that he has health conditions that put him at particular risk from COVID-19. So Judge Lewandowski allowed the execution of his sentence to be postponed until the end of the epidemic. Now, Trump’s pardon means Lewandowski will not spend a day in jail.

according to White House announcement From the pardon, Lewandowski had a number of Supporters are well connected. The list included PayPal co-founder and early Facebook funder Peter Thiel And the Oculus VR founder Palmer Loki. These two men were some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent personalities in support of Donald Trump during the 2016 election.

According to Trump’s amnesty announcement, Lewandowski “paid a heavy price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to the promotion of the public good.” Lewandowski will likely focus now on Pronto, a self-driving truck startup he co-founded in 2018.

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