SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Former Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski appeared briefly in federal court in San Francisco Tuesday in a criminal case charging him with trade secrets theft, and then declared outside of court that he is innocent.
“The government has charged me with crimes I did not commit,” Levandowski said in a statement outside the federal courthouse after the status conference before U.S. District Judge William Alsup.
“I have faith in our system, our judge and our jury, and once the truth comes out, my name will be cleared,” he said.
Levandowski, 39, was indicted in August on 33 counts of theft of trade secrets related to driverless car technology from Google Inc., for which he was then working, in late 2015 and early 2016. Levandowski abruptly resigned from Google on Jan. 27, 2016, and began working for Uber Technologies Inc. on driverless cars in August of that year.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Alsup scheduled another status conference for Oct. 29. A trial date has not been set.
The grand jury indictment was originally filed in federal court in San Jose, but the case was transferred to Alsup in San Francisco because he presided over the trial of a civil trade secrets lawsuit by Waymo, a Google affiliate, against Uber in 2018.
Waymo was spun off by Google as a separate driverless car company in December 2016 and is now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.
The civil case was unexpectedly settled midway through the trial in February 2018. Uber agreed to give Waymo $245 million in stock and agreed not to use any confidential Waymo information in developing its driverless car hardware and software.
Levandowski was not a defendant in the civil trial, but Waymo’s lawsuit alleged that Uber gained stolen trade secrets from him. Uber fired Levandowski in May 2017 after he refused to cooperate in the company’s investigation of the civil lawsuit allegations.
The engineer said in his statement Tuesday, “For the past 15 years, my career has been working to build the state of the art of self-driving technology.
“I hope this prosecution doesn’t discourage the next generation of innovators from following their passion, pursuing new opportunities and most importantly creating amazing things that no one else thought possible,” Levandowski said.
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