In a case that has shaped a hotly contested federal anti-hacking law, a San Francisco jury has convicted a Danville man of six felonies for stealing trade secrets while working as an executive for a major Bay Area corporate recruiting firm.
After a two-week trial, the federal jury on April 24 convicted David Nosal, 55, of theft of trade secrets, conspiracy and violating a 30-year-old computer hacking law that has attracted attention from critics concerned about overzealous prosecutions by the U.S. Justice Department.
A federal appeals court last year tossed out a number of charges against Nosal under the hacking law, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, limiting how far the government can go in prosecuting employees who stray from their bosses' rules on using company computers.
But the U.S. attorney's office preserved six counts against Nosal, and the jury concluded he had illegally diverted confidential information from Korn/Ferry International's computers while working there in 2005. A federal grand jury indicted Nosal in 2008.
Defense lawyers have already asked U.S. District Judge Edward Chen to find that prosecutors failed to prove Nosal committed a crime. Chen is scheduled to sentence Nosal in September.
Dennis Riordan, one of the Nosal's lawyers, said they would appeal the conviction if Chen denies a request for a new trial.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.