U.S. prosecutors seek 27 months imprisonment for former Uber self-driving head

Prosecutors are also seeking a restitution payment of nearly $756,000

(Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are seeking 27 months of imprisonment for the former head of Uber’s self-driving technology unit, Anthony Levandowski, who agreed to plead guilty in March for taking sensitive documents from his former employer Google before joining Uber.

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Federal prosecutors are also seeking three years of supervised release and an agreed-upon restitution payment of nearly $756,500 to Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car company Waymo, according to the court papers filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California.

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Levandowski’s attorneys have asked for 12 months of home confinement for him, with an obligation to perform community service, and a $95,000 fine, the court papers added.

An Uber self-driving Volvo XC90 SUV, part of Uber's testing program within San Francisco that resumed in March. (Getty Images)

“It is, unfortunately, no exaggeration to say that a prison sentence today can amount to the imposition of a serious health crisis, even a death sentence, given the BOP’s (Federal Bureau of Prisons) current inability to control the spread of the coronavirus,” Levandowski’s attorneys wrote.

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The case stemmed from accusations by Google and its sister company Waymo in 2017 that Uber jump-started its own self-driving car development with trade secrets and staff that Levandowski unlawfully took from Google.

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Uber issued company stock to Alphabet and revised its software to settle the case, and the Department of Justice later announced a 33-count criminal indictment against Levandowski.

Levandowski filed for bankruptcy protection in March, shortly after a court confirmed that he must pay $179 million to Google to end a legal battle over his split from the Alphabet Inc unit.

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