Former Google engineer indicted for stealing self-driving car secrets, pleads not guilty

CALIFORNIA: Anthony Levandowski, a pioneer in self-driving car technology, was criminally charged on Tuesday with stealing trade secrets from his former employer Google before joining rival Uber Tech Inc.
The 33-count indictment made public by the US Department of Justice largely mirrors allegations that the Waymo unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc, where Levandowski had worked, made in a 2017 civil lawsuit against Uber, which later settled.
His lawyers said Levandowski stole nothing, and that they looked forward to proving his innocence at trial.
Levandowski, 39, pleaded not guilty to the charges through one of his lawyers, at an arraignment before US Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California.
The judge set a preliminary bail package of $300,000 cash and the pledging as collateral of two properties worth $2 million. Another hearing to set final bail terms was scheduled for Sept. 4, as government lawyers said they needed more time to assess Levandowski’s finances.
Levandowski surrendered his US and French passports and will wear and ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts. A prosecutor expressed concern at the arraignment that Levandowski might be a flight risk.
The defendant, who wore a blue sport jacket and black jeans as his plea was entered, could face up to 10 years in prison on each count if convicted.
Levandowski’s prosecution is one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile trade secret theft cases, as engineers race to develop technology for self-driving vehicles, which industry experts view as a $1 trillion market opportunity within three decades. — Reuters