HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Maui man faces a maximum punishment of life in prison after a federal jury on Monday found him guilty of selling US military secrets to China. Jurors convicted former B-2 stealth bomber engineer Noshir Gowadia on 14 counts, including conspiracy and violating the Arms Export Control Act.
The defendant had no obvious reaction as the verdicts were read. But his attorneys say Gowadia was disappointed because he went into the courtroom confident that he was going to be acquitted of all charges.
After months of complex expert testimony and six grueling days of deliberations, a panel of eight men and four women decided Noshir Gowadia did supply top secret weapons data to China, putting America's security at risk.
"He has communicated vulnerability information on our nation's most important strategic asset, the B-2 bomber," Ken Sorenson, Assistant US Attorney, said. "The B-2 bomber is a mainstay of our nation's defense. Communicating lock-on range information against a short-range, air-to-air missile is not a helpful thing."
The jury convicted the 66-year-old on 14 counts, including conspiracy, unlawfully exporting technical information, illegally retaining defense information, and filing false tax returns.
Prosecutors say the former B-2 bomber engineer helped China design a stealth cruise missile in exchange for money. They say the Maui man sold out the US to pay the $15,000 a month mortgage on his home.
"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. "This verdict sends a very clear message."
The defense argued Gowadia gave China unclassified information, weapons designs that were bogus, and documents that were simply marketing statements selling his capabilities.
"Mr. Gowadia is obviously disappointed with the verdict," Birney Bervar, defense attorney, said. "He felt that he hadn't committed a crime."
The convict blew a kiss to his son and daughter before US marshals took him away. His children left the courthouse without comment.
Jurors acquitted Gowadia on three illegal communication counts.
"It was a long deliberation by the jury and he was confident that he was going to be acquitted," David Klein, defense attorney, said. "He testified at trial. Clearly his testimony was not fully discounted by the jury."
Gowadia has been locked up at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu since his arrest five years ago. Sentencing is set for November 22nd.
The defense plans to appeal.