Judge keeps Anthony Levandowski's bail at $2 million as ex-Uber engineer's criminal trial nears

Key Points
  • Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Uber and ex-Google engineer charged with stealing trade secrets, was in court on Wednesday to set the final conditions of his bail.
  • His bail amount was kept at $2 million, despite an argument from the U.S. attorney that it should be raised to $10 million.
  • The case has been reassigned to Judge William Alsup, the same judge who presided over Uber vs. Waymo.
Anthony Levandowski
Angela Merendino | AFP | Getty Images

Anthony Levandowski, the ex-Uber engineer charged with stealing trade secrets from his time at Google, was in court on Wednesday to set the final conditions of his bail, which the judge held at $2 million.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a criminal indictment against Levandowski for 33 charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets, alleging he took confidential information from Google to Uber. On Wednesday, the U.S. attorney argued in favor of raising Levandowski's bail to $10 million from $2 million to ensure he wouldn't flee, but the judge overseeing the pre-trial proceedings declined to increase it.

Ismail Ramsey, Levandowski's attorney, told CNBC in a statement after the hearing, held in San Jose, California, that his client isn't a flight risk. The $2 million bond included $300,000 in cash that Levandowski posted and $1.7 million worth of his family's property.

"For the government to label Anthony a flight risk — after it had stopped Anthony from turning himself in to the Marshals, just so they could stage a press conference a week later — is more grandstanding and overreach, just like this misguided prosecution," Ramsey wrote. He said in the hearing that Levandowski's net worth is $72 million.

Judge Nathanael Cousins of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California added Levandowski's brother as a cosigner to the $2 million bond to add some extra assurance. Levandowski's brother agreed to pay up to $200,000 in the event Levandowski doesn't show up to his trial.

Levandowski's case has been reassigned to Judge William Alsup, the same judge who oversaw the original Uber vs. Waymo case, which preceded the Levandowski indictment. Levandowski previously worked at Google's self-driving car project, later known as Waymo, and left in 2016 to launch his own self-driving truck company, which Uber acquired.

The indictment alleges Levandowski downloaded thousands of files before he left Google, including "critical engineering information about the hardware used on Project Chauffeur self-driving vehicles." Levandowski allegedly transferred files onto his personal laptop.

Waymo sued Uber in February 2017 for theft of trade secrets, with Levandowski at the heart of the case. The parties settled in early 2018. Last week, Levandowski pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years of imprisonment on each count as well as fines.

Levandowski's first court appearance before Judge Alsup is set for Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. local time.

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Former Alphabet engineer arrested for trade secret theft