New Orleans – July 16, 2019 – Mike Magner, a partner on the Corporate Compliance & White Collar Defense Team in the New Orleans office, together with firm client Dr. Ehab Meselhe spoke about the dismissal of an ongoing trade secret theft case against Dr. Meselhe and fellow scientist Kelin Hu, who were wrongfully accused of stealing a complex computer model, the Basin Wide Model, from the Water Institute of the Gulf.
The Basin Wide Model is a publicly-funded project that Dr. Meselhe and his team developed for the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority and the US Army Corps of Engineers to model solutions to coastal land loss and inform public policy. Dr. Meselhe left the Water Institute of the Gulf for a position in academia, and he disclosed to the Water Institute his intent to take a copy of the Basin Wide Model with him. The president and CEO thanked him for the information and agreed they should “continue working together on all fronts.” Eight months later, Dr. Meselhe was arrested.
Mr. Magner explained a few flaws within the case, including the investigation conducted by the FBI where Dr. Meselhe was not interviewed before his arrest. It became clear certain individuals with their own agendas misled the US Attorney’s Office early on in its investigation. The defense team uncovered prior statements by those individuals that directly contradicted their statements to the government and explained Dr. Meselhe’s innocence in court filings. Mr. Magner thanked the US Attorney’s Office for dismissing the indictment as it was apparent they did not have a case against Dr. Meselhe.
Dr. Meselhe is beyond relieved that he can continue with his life and return to his passion of working to save and restore the Louisiana coast. “This has been incredibly difficult time for me and my family, and I am pleased that the US Government has agreed with my position of innocence and dismissed the case. I am ready to move on with my personal life and remain committed to fulfill my professional activities and services,” said Dr. Meselhe.
Mr. Magner said, “It’s a sobering thing to represent a wrongly accused and truly innocent person. It’s more sobering when that person is a renowned, universally respected scientist and academic who is one of the principal architects of Louisiana’s costal restoration efforts.”
Partners P.J. Kee, Avery Pardee, and associate John Guenard are members of the Corporate Compliance & White Collar Defense Team and worked on the case, as well as LeeAnn Moss and Lisa James.