Monday, April 19, 2010, 4/19/2010 02:53:00 PM

Criminal Theft of Eaton Aerospace Trade Secrets Charges Stand - No Dismissal

By Todd

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that a federal judge has refused to dismiss two pending criminal charges five former Eaton Aerospace engineers are facing after they were victorious in getting others thrown out.

"All motions to dismiss were denied," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dowdy, who heads the criminal division of the Southern District of Mississippi.

And once a civil case involving the former employees is done, the criminal trial will be held, Dowdy said.

In a seven-page order issued March 31, U.S. District Judge William Barbour Jr. allowed to stand the latest indictment of two counts of possession of trade secrets and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Barbour's decision includes many references to the dismissed charges but does not say why he is allowing the other charges to stand.

No trial date is set for Rodney Case, Kevin Clark, Mike Fulton, Douglas Murphy and James Ward.

In 2008, Barbour threw out most of the charges from a 2006 indictment of the former engineers, saying the charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of theft of trade secrets and two counts of wire fraud were unconstitutionally vague.

Barbour also threw out two other counts involving theft of trade secrets, saying they were barred by the statute of limitations. That left only the remaining counts of conspiracy to defraud.
The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld Barbour's decision.

In January 2009, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson filed a new indictment changing the theft charge to possession of trade secrets. The indictment also included the conspiracy count.

The five engineers initially were accused of stealing secrets from Jackson-based Eaton Aerospace and of taking them to Frisby Aerospace in Clemmons, N.C., where they started working in January 2002. Frisby now is known as Triumph Actuation Systems.

Ed Blackmon Jr., of Canton, an attorney for the defense, has called the 2009 indictment a backhanded method by prosecutors to recapture dismissed charges.

We'll keep reporting on this one.


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