President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer and self-driving automotive professional who was sentenced to 18 months in jail in August 2020 for stealing commerce secrets and techniques from Google.
Levandowski pioneered self-driving automotive expertise at Google and made hundreds of thousands. He give up the corporate to discovered Otto, a self-driving truck startup that he offered to ride-hailing big Uber in 2016 for an estimated $680 million. A 12 months later, Google’s self-driving automotive unit Waymo sued Uber alleging that Levandowski had taken hundreds of Google recordsdata, together with confidential product designs, with him earlier than he left.
The corporations finally settled when Uber provided Waymo almost $250 million in inventory and agreed to not violate the corporate’s mental property.
But in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and tried theft. In March final 12 months, Levandowski pleaded responsible to 1 rely of commerce secrets and techniques theft and admitted to downloading hundreds of inner Google paperwork onto his private laptop. In addition to the 18-month sentence, he was additionally ordered to pay a $95,000 high quality and $756,500 in restitution. A decide agreed to let Levandowski keep out of jail till the tip of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good,” the White House stated in a press release on the ultimate day of Trump’s presidency saying the pardon together with dozens of others. The White House referred to as Levandowski “an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology.”
Among the folks supporting the pardon are Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime Trump supporter, and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who as soon as donated cash to a pro-Trump nonprofit related to the alt-right.
A Waymo spokesperson declined to touch upon Levandowski’s pardon. Uber didn’t reply to a request for remark.