A former Google engineer accused of stealing trade secrets for Uber has agreed to plead guilty to swiping sensitive documents from his old employer before joining the ride-hail giant.
Anthony Levandowski took the plea deal in exchange for San Francisco federal prosecutors recommending a jail sentence of no more than 30 months, bringing to an end one of the most high-profile corporate disputes in Silicon Valley.
“We hope that this plea will allow him to move on with his life and focus his energies where they matter most,” developing new technologies, his attorney, Miles Ehrlich, said in a statement.
The plea deal comes two weeks after Levandowski was ordered to pay $179 million in damages to his former employer — a punishment that resulted in him immediately filing for bankruptcy.
The star engineer allegedly downloaded 14,000 Waymo documents in December 2015 as he was about to leave his job after being poached by then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
After leaving Waymo, Levandowski formed an autonomous trucking company called Otto which was promptly acquired by Uber.
Uber and Waymo eventually settled the dispute to the tune of $245 million, but Levandowski was charged by San Francisco federal prosecutors in August with looting the top-secret files.
Levandowski was facing 33 counts, with a maximum sentence of 10 years apiece, but pleaded guilty to just one, which accused him of downloading to his personal computer a file that tracked technical goals for Google’s self-driving project.
“I downloaded these files with the intent to use them for my own personal benefit, and I understand that I was not authorized to take the files for that purpose,” Levandowski said in court papers.
Levandowski also agreed to pay nearly $756,500 in restitution to cover costs Alphabet bore assisting the government’s investigation, according to court papers.
A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
With Post wires.
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