Brooklyn federal prosecutors reportedly dropped their case against an NYPD officer previously indicted for allegedly spying on behalf of the Chinese government.
In 2020, Baimadajie Angwang, a New York City Police Department officer and Army reservist granted secret-level security clearance by the Department of Defense, was described as the "definition of an insider threat" by FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office William F. Sweeney.
He was arrested in September of that year after initially joining the country’s largest police department in 2014.
But by Friday, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace’s Office filed vague documents saying their further investigation "obtained additional information bearing on the charges," N.Y. Daily News reported.
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Without providing more specifics to their reasoning, prosecutors asked Judge Eric R. Komitee to dismiss the indictment, the New York Post also reported.
Angwang, who initially overstayed his visa and was later granted asylum in the United States by claiming he had been tortured by the Chinese government partly due to his Tibetan ethnicity, was accused of using his position as a community liaison officer in the 11th precinct in Queens as a means to spy on Tibetan immigrants and provide the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to serious events.
In fact, federal prosecutors had said Angwang failed to disclose that both his mother and father were Chinese Community Party members. His brother and father both worked for China’s principal military force, the People’s Liberation Army (PLC). All three of them live in China, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors had wanted a jury to hear wiretapped conversations between Angwang and his Chinese handler at the PRC Consulate in New York City.
In one such talk, Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen, allegedly said he wanted to get promoted within the NYPD to "bring glory to China." In another call, he told his handler that superiors in Beijing "should be happy … because you have stretched your reach into the police," according to the criminal complaint.
Angwang’s attorney John F. Carman alleged to the Post that federal prosecutors now are hiding behind the Classified Information Procedures Act to dodge explaining why the indictment was dropped "in an effort to give the impression that this was a legitimate prosecution, which it was not."
"Mr. Angwang is a great American who served his country in combat in Afghanistan and our government repaid him by treating him like he was the leader of the Taliban," Carman said.