Judges favor Apple and raised a concern that it’s risky to end electronic monitoring for two engineers awaiting criminal trials.
Apple INC on Monday told the Federal Court that it has deep concerns on their ex-employees for stealing trade secrets from the company. Apple claimed that the employees will try to flee before their trials if their locations are not monitored.
At a hearing in the US district court for the northern district of California, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should be monitored because they present risks.
Federal prosecutors claimed that Zhang worked on Apple’s self-driving car program and stole important files related to the program before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor. Federal agents arrested Zhang last year at the San Jose airport when he was about to board a flight to China.
Prosecutors allege Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing “manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple’s secure databases” with intent to share them. Agents arrested Chen in January on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.
Zhang and Chen were charged with the count of criminal trade secrets theft and pleaded not guilty. However, they were released on bail shortly after their arrests and have been under electronic monitoring since then.
Attorney Daniel Olmos, who represents the men, said that both had family reasons to visit China and had shown no signs of violating their pre-trial conditions so far.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris argued that if either man fled to China, it would be difficult and impossible for federal officials to secure their extradition for a trial. The prosecutor was supported by three Apple employees including strategic adviser Anthony DeMario. Judges favor that it’s risky to end electronic monitoring for two engineers awaiting criminal trials.