(TibetanReview.net, Jan20’23) – Ahead of his trial in July, a federal judge in Brooklyn, New York City, has on Jan 19 formally dismissed the case against a NYPD cop and Army reservist accused of spying on Tibetans for the Chinese government and for other offences. Judge Eric Komitee of the Eastern District of New York tossed the charges against Mr Baimadajie Angwang, after prosecutors had moved to drop the case on Jan 13, reported the nypost.com Jan 19.
It was a spectacular turnaround by the federal prosecutors who had called him “the definition of an insider threat” at the time of his indictment.
They have now told the judge the evidence that led them to ask for the dismissal remained “classified”, reported the scmp.com Jan 20, citing WABC-TV in New York.
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At a brief hearing on Jan 19, Assistant US Attorney Matthew Haggans has said the government was “limited in the information we can provide” — but added that the decision to dismiss the indictment was based on an “assessment of all the evidence and information available to the government.”
Haggens has said it was “appropriate to seek dismissal based in the interest of justice.”
Angwang attorney, John Carman, has maintained his client had done nothing wrong.
“Mr Angwang was innocent from the very beginning,” Carman has told reporters. “Mr Angwang asked me to emphasize today that he is not, and he has never been, an agent for the People’s Republic of China, nor has he entered into any type of agreement with the government of our country in order to induce them to dismiss the indictment.”
Carman has also said prosecutors had invoked the Classified Information Procedures Act to avoid explaining the dropped indictment in an effort to “not completely admit that they believe that this guy’s been through the wringer for two-and-a-half years on trumped-up, illegitimate, baseless charges”.
He has said the application to dismiss was “without prejudice”, meaning that prosecutors could reopen the case in the future if new evidence is uncovered. But he has also said Angwang might “seek some kind of redress against the government for all the suffering that’s occurred”.
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During the indictment hearing, following his arrest in Sep 2020, prosecutors spoke of having a trove of damning evidences against Angwang, concerned with his spying for China that targeted exile Tibetans. He also faced several other charges, including giving the Chinese an inside look at the operations of the police department and wire fraud. He was also accused of making false statements and obstruction related to disclosures he made for a national security background check.
They alleged that Angwang, a community affairs officer with the 111th Precinct in Queens, became an “intelligence asset” of the Chinese government in 2018, working with a handler stationed in the Chinese consulate in Manhattan.
Angwang, an ethnic Tibetan and naturalized citizen, was also accused of informing his handler of potential assets and troublemakers in New York’s Tibetan community.
If convicted, the 36-year-old, both of whose parents were stated to be communist Patty of China members, had faced up to 55 years behind bars.