HONOLULU — The son of a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer who was convicted of selling military secrets to China vowed Tuesday to appeal the verdict.
Ashton Gowadia told The Associated Press an appeal is already in the works but can't be submitted until his 66-year-old father, Noshir Gowadia, is sentenced in November.
The elder Gowadia was found guilty Monday on charges that he designed a cruise missile component for China and pocketed at least $110,000. Prosecutors alleged he used the money to help pay a $15,000-a-month mortgage on a multimillion-dollar oceanview home he built on Maui's north shore.
But the 44-year old son, who works in the mortgage business and lives in Laguna Beach, Calif., said the jury ignored exculpatory evidence that should have cleared his father.
Three defense witnesses with long experience in the U.S. military industry testified that the information Noshir Gowadia provided to China was meaningless or was publicly available, Ashton Gowadia noted.
"They literally got out the textbooks, and they matched the stuff from the government's evidence to textbooks, one published in 1935 and another one published in 1969," Ashton Gowadia said from the Honolulu airport, where he was awaiting a flight to the mainland.
Jurors "had evidence to exonerate him," he added.
"They were actually shown a plethora of evidence to show that all this stuff was in the public domain and was freely exchanged between engineers and professors all over the world."
Prosecutors said the elder Gowadia revealed classified information to foreign powers at least twice: during a PowerPoint presentation on his cruise missile technology, and when he illustrated the effectiveness of his design by comparing it to American air-to-air missiles.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson said after the verdict was announced that Gowadia's case was unique because he had been prosecuted for and convicted of exporting knowledge derived from work in U.S. classified programs.
"If you can take that and go sell it or market yourself on an international stage in secrecy to other governments and not suffer criminal sanctions for it, then we're in trouble," Sorenson said Monday.
The younger Gowadia said his dad, who remains jailed at the federal detention center near the Honolulu airport, was devastated by the guilty verdict.
"We were stunned," he said.
"This is just absolutely heartbreaking. We were so confident that the truth would get out and that he'd be exonerated, especially when we had such high-profile witnesses," Ashton Gowadia added.
Noshir Gowadia's lawyers and prosecutors did not immediately respond to requests for comment.