A California federal judge on Wednesday ordered a chemical company executive to be freed on $2 million bail after 19 months in custody on charges that he helped steal DuPont Co.'s titanium dioxide trade secrets and sold them to a Chinese competitor.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins granted Walter Liew's motion for pretrial release and told government attorneys they had until April 30 to identify the documents they plan to use against him at trial, which Liew's attorneys said they have been demanding for months.
Government attorneys said they had held off producing the documents because they plan to bring a superceding indictment against Liew this spring.
“We've been in communication with the government for 10 months for these key documents, and they continually refuse to say what will be [included],” Katherine Lovett of Keker & Van Nest LLP, an attorney for Liew, said. “They say they will be 'important,' but that's too nebulous for us. We need something more specific.”
Government attorneys objected, saying that Liew's team was asking for the equivalent of a trial exhibit list, which was more than the law required at this stage in the case. In addition, key documents may change with the superceding indictment, and in some cases, documents have not yet been translated from Chinese and may not be useful to the defense attorneys at this stage, government attorney John Hemann said.
Liew and his wife Christina were arrested in July 2011 and indicted in August 2011 on charges that they tampered with witnesses, made false statements and attempted to delay the FBI's effort to uncover the illegal sale of DuPont's trade secrets to rival manufacturers, including Pangang Group Co. Ltd.
Liew was an executive at Orinda, Calif.-based USA Performance Technology Inc., which allegedly paid former DuPont employee Tze Chao and others for trade secrets related to the manufacture of titanium dioxide — a pigment used in paper, paint and plastics. Chao pled guilty to stealing trade secrets last March.
Liew is represented by Stuart L. Gasner and Simona A. Agnolucci of Keker & Van Nest LLP.
The case is U.S. v. Liew et al., case number 3:11-cr-00573, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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Stuart Gasner centers his practice in the areas of white collar criminal and securities defense, intellectual property litigation and complex corporate disputes. A federal prosecutor before joining Keker & Van Nest, Mr. Gasner has tried more than 20 cases to verdict before juries across the United States.
Simona Agnolucci specializes in complex litigation, including intellectual property matters, securities cases, and commercial disputes. She has represented major brokerage companies and investment advisors, as well as cutting-edge Internet and smartphone companies. Ms. Agnolucci has litigated cases before state and federal trial courts and has substantial experience in appellate matters across various substantive areas of the law.
Armed with a keenly observational and analytical nature, Katherine Lovett crafts arguments which resonate with judges and juries alike. As a law clerk, and as an intern for the Missouri State Public Defender’s office, the Fair Trial Initiative, and the Southern Center for Human Rights, she learned how to weave legal theory with artful narratives to persuade both jurists and the general public.