Federal prosecutors are dropping charges against Louisiana scientists who were arrested last month on accusations of trying to steal trade secrets from their former employer, The Water Institute of The Gulf.
Prosecutors moved Monday to drop the charges against Ehab Meselhe and Kelin Hu, writing they cannot meet the burden of proof in the case, The Associated Press reports.
According to the indictment for which the charges were brought, Meselhe and Hu allegedly attempted to steal computer trade secrets from TWIG’s proprietary Basin Wide Model computer program. The program was developed at TWIG over many years, according to the indictment, and contained unique codes and files used to run the model, which predicts how the Mississippi Delta could change over time.
Mike Magner, an attorney for Meselhe, said investigators overlooked emails and other evidence that suggested the scientists did nothing wrong. Magner also argued in a court filing that the Basin Wide Model is public property of the state of Louisiana and not a Water Institute trade secret.
Meslhe, 53, and Hu, 42, both left TWIG in 2018 for research positions at Tulane University’s River and Coastal Center. Read a Daily Report story about the charges, which have now been dropped.