Trump Pardons Anthony Levandowski, Who Stole From Google
President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned Anthony Lewandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer and automaker who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in August 2020 for stealing trade secrets from Google.
Levandowski pioneered Google’s self-driving car technology and made millions. He left the company to find Otto, a truck starter that he sold to the Uber giant for leisure in 2016 for about $ 680 million. A year later, the Google carmaker Waymo sued Uber, claiming that Levandowski had taken thousands of Google files, including confidential product designs, with him before he left.
The companies eventually settled when Uber offered Waymo about $ 250 million in stock and agreed not to infringe on the company’s intellectual property.
However, in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Lewandowski with 33 counts of theft and attempted theft. In March last year, Levandowski pleaded guilty to one count of trade secret theft and admitted to hacking into thousands of internal Google documents on his personal computer. In addition to the 18-month sentence, he was also fined $ 95,000 and $ 756,500 in compensation. A judge has agreed to keep Levandowski out of jail until the end of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Mr. Lewandowski has paid a heavy price for his actions and intends to dedicate his talents to promoting the public good,” the White House said in a statement on the last day of Trump’s presidency, announcing his pardon along with dozens of others. The White House described Levandowski as “an American businessman who led Google ‘s efforts to create self – driving technology.”
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime Trump supporter, and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who once donated money to a Trump-affiliated nonprofit alt-right.
A Waymo spokesman declined to comment on Levandowski’s pardon. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.