AKRON (Sept. 14, 2012) — A former Bridgestone Americas scientist accused of stealing trade secrets from the company is asking an Akron district court judge to dismiss one charge and exclude testimony on other charges in his pending trial.
Government attorneys, however, argue that Xiaorong Wang's motions before Judge James S. Gwin have no merit.
Mr. Wang, a former senior scientist and project leader at Bridgestone Americas Center for Research and Technology (BART) in Akron, was indicted in April 2012 on charges of stealing trade secrets and making false statements to federal agents.
In April 2010, according to the indictment, BART fired Mr. Wang for sending abusive emails to a company colleague in Japan. That same day, Mr. Wang allegedly downloaded confidential and proprietary research information onto compact discs.
Among the items Mr. Wang allegedly copied were files on the development for new polymers for racing tires; on the strategy and direction of research for mono/bi-functional polymers; on planned process changes to butadiene rubber production in Japan; on raw material codes for production of micelle polymers; on specifications for liquid paper powders; and on the commercialization of guayule rubber.
During interviews with FBI agents Andrew Havrilla and Matt McKinney in April, May and December 2010, Mr. Wang allegedly lied to them about his activities.
For instance, Mr. Wang said he had copied only three CDs of personal photographs, when in fact he had also copied six CDs worth of trade secrets, according to an affidavit sworn by Mr. Havrilla.
Mr. Wang also allegedly lied about various job-seeking contacts he had made to various entities in China, including accepting a job at Suzhou University.
According to court documents, Mr. Wang tried to reach a plea agreement in July with the federal district attorney's office, but the court rejected the agreement Aug. 1.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Wang filed several motions to have charges dropped and testimony excluded. These included:
In its responses, the government argued that Mr. Wang's motions were without merit. The evidence Mr. Wang wanted the court to exclude, it said, was relevant to proving elements of the charges and not unduly prejudicial.
“The defendant's attempts to find employment in the PRC…all centered on his desire to found and direct a polymer research center that conduced applied materials science,” the government said. “The evidence is clear that this meant industrial application, specifically to the benefit of the rubber tire and automobile industry in the PRC.”
As for the April 2010 interview, Mr. Wang was not under arrest at the time, and therefore Miranda warnings did not apply, the government said.
Mr. Wang's trial is set to begin Sept. 24.
To reach this reporter: [email protected]; 202-662-7211.
A motion in limine to exclude any evidence at trial of Mr. Wang's previous associations with foreign entities. “The probative value, if any, is substantially outweighed by danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues and the possibility that the same could mislead the jury,” the motion said.
Another motion in limine to exclude any evidence of Mr. Wang's previous efforts to seek a plea agreement.
A motion to suppress all evidence based on Mr. Wang's interview with Messrs. Havrilla and McKinney in April 2012, on the grounds that he had not been read his Miranda rights, and to dismiss all charges based on this interview.
A motion to dismiss Count 14 of the indictment, involving false statements, and to strike a reference to the People's Republic of China (PRC) from Count 9.