Ex-Motorola engineer guilty of stealing trade secrets

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A former engineer at Motorola Inc who was stopped at O’Hare International Airport five years ago carrying thousands of the company’s proprietary documents was found guilty of stealing trade secrets on Wednesday, but cleared of economic espionage for China.

The defendant, Hanjuan Jin, was charged with illegally possessing thousands of Motorola’s trade secrets on her computer and in other forms of digital storage as she attempted to board a flight to Beijing on a one-way ticket on February 28, 2007.

Prosecutors alleged Jin, a Chinese-born American, intended to pass the information to the Chinese military. She was caught by federal agents during a random security search at the airport.

Jin, 41, who joined Motorola in 1998, pleaded not guilty and waived her right to a jury trial, putting her case in the hands of a U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo, who conducted a so-called bench trial last November

Castillo handed down a split verdict, finding Jin guilty of stealing Motorola’s trade secrets but not guilty of economic espionage against the United States.

Castillo said that while federal prosecutors proved Jin had “criminally betrayed Motorola” he could not reasonably infer Jin meant to betray her adopted country.

He scheduled sentencing for April 18 and said Jin could remain free on bond until then.

“Motorola Solutions appreciates the significant efforts the government devoted to prosecuting this case and securing this verdict,” the company said in a statement. “We fully cooperated with the government’s investigation and are pleased with this outcome.”

Motorola Inc split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility in January 2011. Motorola Mobility is being sold to Google Inc.

Reporting by James B. Kelleher; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Daniel Trotta