FBI agents assigned to espionage probes insist Chi Mak–an Anaheim defense contractor employee working on stealth technology for U.S. Navy submarines and warships–was a spy for communist China and in 2008 an Orange County federal judge sentenced him to 293 months in prison.
But Mak, who is now a resident of a federal prison in Lompoc, is blasting U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney for, in his view, acting as a biased agent for government prosecutors during his trial.
He also claims FBI agents railroaded him by lying about his statements in unrecorded conversations.
In late January, Mak filed an appeal inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse and demand that his sentence be vacated because the entire premise of his conviction–that he tried to send classified U.S. military secrets to Beijing–is absurd.
According to the convicted spy, all of the information related to QED–Quiet Electric Drive–on his discs for China was non-classified material.
In his brief, he states there is "no evidence" he "sent anything to China other than unclassified technology" that had already been "in the public domain" for years.
Though he didn't address why the FBI recovered the allegedly unclassified data on encrypted discs his brother possessed while trying to leave to Hong Kong from Los Angeles International Airport, he claims federal government officials cheated him by classifying the information about warship propulsion 11 months after his arrest.
Carney, who was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by President George W. Bush, has ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to respond to Mak's complaints by March 17.
Mak worked as a senior engineer at Power Paragon, Inc.
His prior attempts to overturn his conviction failed because judges have viewed the government's case for espionage as overwhelming and FBI agents believe he was a "sleeper agent" sent by Beijing officials to the U.S. decades before he was activated.
If his current punishment isn't overturned, Mak is scheduled to regain freedom in 2027.