Pardon Aside, Judge Says Silicon Valley Prosecution Was ‘Strong’

Just minutes before Anthony Levandowski appeared Tuesday before the judge who sentenced him to 18 months in prison, the driverless car engineer filed with the court an official copy of his pardon from Donald Trump.

With it, Levandowski’s conviction for stealing trade secrets from Google before jumping to Uber Technologies Inc. was wiped away -- along with arguably the highest-profile white collar technology prosecution in years for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.

Pardon Aside, Judge Says Silicon Valley Prosecution Was ‘Strong’


“The president, of course, has the constitutional power of pardon,” U.S. District Judge William Alsup said, acknowledging that the reasons behind Levandowski’s pardon are “none of my business.” But for the public’s benefit, Alsup said, he wanted to share that Levandowski’s prosecution was “very well founded.”

“It was a strong case by the government and the 18-month sentence was justified,” the veteran judge said. Even though the President believes it should be commuted, “no one should doubt for a moment that the government was not only within its rights but brought a very strong case” with the aim of protecting trade secrets, Alsup said. “There was nothing wrong or fishy about this prosecution.”

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