Former Boeing manager Keith Gartenlaub, who was convicted of possessing child pornography while he was being investigated for spying for China, has asked a judge to strike out his guilty verdict and award him a new trial.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Christina Snyder will consider Gartenlaub’s request on Monday. If she refuses the request, Gartenlaub will be sent to prison for up to 10 years.
Gartenlaub insists there is no proof that he accessed or stored child pornography on his personal computer. He also questioned the authenticity of the warrant, which, in his words, was obtained based on fabricated allegations for which he was never charged. Judge Snyder previously determined the evidence was properly gathered and that the warrant was issued within the confines of the law.
According to reports, FBI agents obtained the covert warrant and accessed Keith Gartenlaub’s Southern California home when he and his wife traveled to Shanghai to visit relatives. While inside the home, the agents took pictures of documents found inside the house and duplicated everything they found on three hard drives.
Gartenlaub, who was an information technology manager at Boeing, was reportedly being investigated for trading secrets about the C-17 military transport plane with China. FBI officials said they searched the former manager’s home because they were concerned about national security.
Following the 2014 search, no spying charges were filed against Keith Gartenlaub. However, seven months later, he was accused of possessing child pornography. Although he vehemently denied the charges, the former Boeing manager was convicted by jurors in December, 2015.
Gartenlaub’s attorneys have argued there was no evidence linking him to the lewd videos on the hard drives. Moreover, the computers were kept at a beach house — which was used by several others. “They claim, I’m a spy and a pervert, I’m neither one,” Gartenlaub said.
As reported by Stars and Stripes, forensic examiner Jeff Fishbach, who testified for the defense, said there was no proof the folders were ever accessed since they were downloaded.
Justicia para los niños: Keith Gartenlaub alto ejecutivo atrapado por el FBI con pornografía infanti pic.twitter.com/IGAuBkqmxj
— Mónica Zsarolyani C (@moniczc) April 18, 2016
The entire fiasco began in February, 2013, when the FBI emailed Keith Gartenlaub about a breach at Boeing and requested a meeting to ask him some questions. According to reports, the former manager was grilled for two days at Boeing’s facility in Long Beach, California, and on a third day at the company’s Huntington Beach facility.
During questioning, Gartenlaub was shown an email, which was intercepted by authorities, containing information about the C-17. The e-mail was of specific importance, as the plans were reportedly sought by the Chinese and were a matter of national security. Keith Gartenlaub vehemently denied having anything to do with the e-mail.
In June, 2014, Gartenlaub said he found out a Chinese businessman, Su Bin, had been arrested. At that time, he realized the email he was shown by the FBI agents was actually sent by Bin.
In a sworn affidavit, Agent Wesley Harris said Gartenlaub’s position at Boeing, as a “nationwide Unix military administrator,” granted him access to log in and retrieve C-17 data. However, two of Gartenlaub’s former colleagues, speaking on the grounds of anonymity, said the agent had incorrect information about the position. They insist their former colleague was an IT manager as opposed to an administrator, and there is no way he could have breached the files — because he simply did not have access.
— CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) April 17, 2016
Keith Gartenlaub believes he was targeted because his wife is a native of China and was a member of the Orange County Chinese business association, but he is unsure why he is accused of downloading and saving the child pornography.
[Image via Travellight/Shutterstock]