Feds Drop Investigation Targeting Fortune 100 Executive for Espionage and Obstruction of Justice
Our client was a Chinese-born Fortune 100 executive targeted by the FBI for espionage and obstruction of justice.
As a result of her handling of classified information, our client became the target of an FBI investigation. When she was initially approached by law enforcement, she submitted, without counsel, to an interview conducted by a team of federal agents over two full consecutive days. Following the interview, FBI agents advised our client that the government had enough evidence to charge her with espionage as a result of her handling of classified information and obstruction of justice for statements she made during the interview that the agents believed to be false.
We met with the Assistant U.S. Attorneys and agents handling the case and gained an understanding of their theory of the case and how they believed our client had committed espionage and obstructed justice. During meetings with our client, we learned that while she had improperly handled classified information, she did so only in an effort to do additional work from home during evenings and weekends and not as part of a scheme to commit espionage. As we continued to work the case, we learned that our client had not obstructed justice by lying to agents during the two-day interview. Rather, there had been miscommunication between investigating agents and our client as a result of language and cultural barriers. In short, despite posturing from the government, prosecutors would not be able to prove the elements of espionage or obstruction of justice because our client had not committed those offenses.
We decided to fully cooperate with the government and had multiple follow-up meetings with agents and prosecutors. We used these meetings as opportunities to explain to decision-makers that what they initially perceived to be espionage and obstruction of justice was, in fact, our client trying to be more efficient for her employer and miscommunication.
We persuaded the government that our client had not committed espionage or obstruction of justice and prosecutors agreed to close their investigation without charging our client.