Defense attorney says B-2 engineer gave China only unclassified information

By Audrey Mcavoy, AP
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Attorney: Engineer gave China unclassified info

HONOLULU — The attorney for a former B-2 bomber engineer from Hawaii accused of selling military secrets to China says his client designed a cruise missile part for China but did so based on public information.

David Klein told a federal jury Thursday the exhaust nozzle Noshir Gowadia designed for a Chinese stealth cruise missile was “basic stuff” and “not classified.”

He says the 67-year-old Maui man wanted to get money from China, but he didn’t sell the country military secrets.

Klein’s comments came during closing arguments of a trial that’s lasted nearly four months.

Gowadia has pleaded not guilty to 17 counts, including conspiracy, violating the arms export control act and money laundering.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

HONOLULU (AP) — A federal prosecutor said Thursday a former B-2 bomber engineer helped China design a stealth cruise missile to raise money to pay the $15,000-a-month mortgage on the mansion-like home he built on Maui’s north shore.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson told a jury in closing arguments to a four-month-long trial that Noshir Gowadia wove a “world wide web of deception” to sell military secrets to China.

“The desperation began once he started building that house,” Sorenson said.

The prosecutor showed the jury e-mail messages Gowadia allegedly exchanged with his Chinese contacts to arrange meetings and payments, and to transfer his cruise missile part designs. Sorenson outlined how Gowadia allegedly pushed his contacts for more money, citing his unique knowledge and expertise.

Gowadia’s defense attorney, David Klein, told the jury the trial wasn’t about visceral or gut reactions but was about applying the law.

Both sides were due to continue their arguments later in the day.

Gowadia, who has been in federal detention since his 2005 arrest, has pleaded not guilty to 17 counts, including conspiracy, violating the arms export control act and money laundering. The trial began in April.

The India-born naturalized U.S. citizen helped design the propulsion system for the B-2 stealth bomber while working for defense contractor Northrop Corp., now Northrop Grumman Corp., from 1968 to 1986.

The indictment alleges Gowadia made six trips to China from 2003 to 2005, conspiring to conceal some of his visits by getting border agents to leave immigration stamps off his passport.

He’s also accused of attempting to sell classified stealth technology to the Swiss government and to businesses in Israel and Germany.

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