Trump pardons ex-Google, Uber engineer who plead guilty to stealing trade secrets
President Trump early Wednesday pardoned former Google and Uber engineer Anthony Levandowski, who was indicted in 2019 for stealing trade secrets from Google’s self-driving cars program.
Levandowski was pardoned by Trump as part of over 100 pardons issued on his last day in office, with the pardon coming after Levandowski was sentenced last year to 18 months in jail after pleading guilty for stealing trade secrets.
The sentencing came a year after Levandowski was indicted on 33 counts for downloading more than 14,000 engineering, manufacturing and business files from Google in the months before his departure from the company in early 2016.
Levandowski formerly served as a leader of Google’s efforts to develop self-driving car technology, and after he left the company, Levandowski took files to two competitor groups working on autonomous cars, including a company later acquired by Uber.
Uber fired Levandowski from his role leading their self-driving cars effort in 2017 after Google brought charges against him.
In a statement released by the White House press secretary, Levandowski was described as “an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology.”
“Mr. Levandowski pled guilty to a single criminal count arising from civil litigation,” the White House wrote. “Notably, his sentencing judge called him a ‘brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs.’ Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good.”
The White House noted that Levandowski’s pardon was supported by industry leaders including PayPal co-founder and Palantir Technologies founder Peter Thiel.
Levandowski tweeted Wednesday that he was “grateful” for the pardon.
“My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to move forward, and thankful to the President and others who supported and advocated on my behalf,” he tweeted.
Levandowski’s pardon was part of a long list released hours before Trump was slated to leave office. The list also included pardons for Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon, rapper Lil Wayne, GOP fundraiser Elliot Broidy and former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D).
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