President Donald Trump on Wednesday pardoned Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer and self-driving automobile knowledgeable who was sentenced to 18 months in jail in August 2020 for stealing commerce secrets and techniques from Google.

Levandowski pioneered self-driving automobile expertise at Google and made tens of millions. He stop the corporate to discovered Otto, a self-driving truck startup that he bought to ride-hailing big Uber in 2016 for an estimated $680 million. A yr later, Google’s self-driving automobile unit Waymo sued Uber alleging that Levandowski had taken 1000’s of Google information, together with confidential product designs, with him earlier than he left.

The businesses finally settled when Uber supplied Waymo practically $250 million in inventory and agreed to not violate the corporate’s mental property.

However in August 2019, federal prosecutors charged Levandowski with 33 counts of theft and tried theft. In March final yr, Levandowski pleaded responsible to at least one rely of commerce secrets and techniques theft and admitted to downloading 1000’s of inside Google paperwork onto his personal computer. Along with the 18-month sentence, he was additionally ordered to pay a $95,000 positive and $756,500 in restitution. A decide agreed to let Levandowski keep out of jail till the tip of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mr. Levandowski has paid a big worth for his actions and plans to commit his abilities to advance the general public good,” the White Home mentioned in a statement on the ultimate day of Trump’s presidency saying the pardon together with dozens of others. The White Home referred to as Levandowski “an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving expertise.”

Among the many individuals supporting the pardon are Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, a longtime Trump supporter, and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, who as soon as donated cash to a pro-Trump nonprofit related to the alt-right.

A Waymo spokesperson declined to touch upon Levandowski’s pardon. Uber didn’t reply to a request for remark.