A federal judge refused a government request to delay Monday’s start of the economic espionage trial of a Chinese businessman accused of attempted theft of secrets from DuPont to pass on to a Chinese state-owned company.
Federal prosecutors asked for more time because one of three trial attorneys, John Hemann, has pneumonia, according to court papers. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White Tuesday rejected the request in a written order.
Walter Liew, owner of USA Performance Technology Inc. has been in prison without bail since 2011 and the government has other lawyers to handle the trial, White said.
“This case pas been pending for over two years, and Mr. Liew has continued to press for his right to a speedy trial in light of his continued incarceration,” White said. “Second, the government is represented by two other capable attorneys,” he said. In addition, he said a delay would impact potential jury schedules.
This isn’t the first time the government has had time troubles. White wanted the case to go to trial in October, but in June prosecutors said the government furloughs and budget issues made it difficult to identify and produce its experts and their reports for Liew’s defense time.
Liew and his wife Christina, are co-owners of USA Performance and were accused of stealing information on the production of titanium dioxide, a white pigment used in paint, plastics and paper. DuPont has had the rights to the chemical formula since the 1940s. Liew allegedly plotted to steal the information on its production and give it to Pangang companies.
The Liews were arrested in July 2011 on charges of witness tampering, false statements and an attempt to thwart FBI efforts to uncover illegal sale of DuPont’s trade secrets to a rival.
Christina Liew won the right to a trial separate from her husband, arguing that she may need to call him as a witness in her behalf.
Case: U.S. v. Liew, No. 11-cr-573JSW