Closing arguments in the government’s case against Dongfan “Greg” Chung were heard Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, reports the Associated Press. Chung is accused of passing critical trade secrets to the Chinese government on the United States’ space program.
While six economic espionage cases have been settled before trial, Chung is the first person to actually be prosecuted under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, which was created with the intention of allowing the government to crack down on those who stole information from private companies with government contracts. A second case is set for trial in San Jose later this year.
Federal prosecutors said that Chung stole over 300,000 pages of sensitive documents from Boeing Co. and Rockwell International to pass on to the Chinese government.
The attorney conceded that Chung “did some dumb things” and may have violated Boeing policy, but he insisted Chung stopped short of doing anything illegal. He added that his client simply brought thousands of documents home because he was a “pack rat” and said the government couldn’t prove Chung had actually passed any of it to China.
“He’s a guy who likes knowledge for the sake of knowledge, including sharing knowledge … but he does that because he wants China to become more like America, not because he wants America to be under the thumb of China.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Staples of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California responded:
“The 300,000 pages of documents is not the work of a pack rat, it’s a pack elephant,” he said. “This is a very, very big red flag. It’s as big as any red flag flying over China today.”
Carney is expected to deliver a verdict in the next two weeks.
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