Appeals court backs conviction of Maui man for selling secrets
HONOLULU – A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction of a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer who was convicted of selling military secrets to China and disclosing classified information to people in other countries.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court in Honolulu was correct to admit as evidence information federal agents gathered while interviewing Noshir Gowadia before they arrested him.
Gowadia’s attorneys argued that the Maui resident was being detained during the interviews. But the appeals court found that Gowadia was free to stop the interviews and that he willingly and enthusiastically shared information.
The appeals court also found that jurors received correct instructions about the government’s burden to prove the alleged classified information was technical data and not information in the public domain.
Gowadia’s attorney, Georgia McMillan, said she was reviewing the ruling and declined to comment.
Gowadia, 70, is serving a 32-year sentence at a federal prison in Colorado.
He was convicted in 2011 on 14 counts, including communicating national defense information to aid a foreign nation and violating the arms export control act.
Prosecutors said Gowadia helped China design a stealth cruise missile to get money to pay the $15,000-a-month mortgage on his luxurious multimillion-dollar home overlooking the ocean on Maui. They say he pocketed at least $110,000 by selling military secrets.
The jury also found Gowadia guilty of attempting to sell classified stealth technology to the Swiss government, and to businesses in Israel and Germany.
Gowadia’s defense argued he provided only unclassified information and was innocent.
The court said Gowadia voluntarily accompanied federal agents to each interview they conducted in 2005. The interviews were first held at Gowadia’s home in Haiku, then at a coffee shop, a Maui police station and FBI offices in Honolulu.
The appeals court said Gowadia was never handcuffed during this questioning and he ended interviews when he was tired.