A New York City police officer from Williston Park charged with being an agent of the People's Republic of China was released on $2 million bond Wednesday from a federal jail after contracting the coronavirus.
Baimadajie Angwang, 33, a naturalized citizen from Tibet, had been held in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since he was arrested four months ago.
A federal magistrate on Tuesday had ordered Angwang’s release on Wednesday, as soon as he was fitted with an electronic ankle monitoring device.
Angwang’s attorney, John Carman, of Garden City, said his client was released at 12:45 p.m., adding, "Mr. Angwang is free today on the strength of 13 people who believed in him so much that they committed to a two million dollar bond. He is going to enjoy an evening with his wife and daughter."
The spokesman for Easterrn District prosecutors, John Marzulli, declined to comment. In court hearings, a federal prosecutor, Matthew Haggans, has opposed the release.
Angwang, a police officer in the 111th Precinct in Queens, is also a former Marine and a member of the Army Reserve, who previously had been denied bail twice as a fight risk. He has been suspended without pay.
But last week, U.S. District Judge Eric Komitee, who had previously denied the police officer bail, said Angwang’s situation had notably changed. An appeals court panel also had agreed with Komitee’s initial decision to deny bail.
Komitee also cited other reasons for granting bail: the increase in the proposed bond from $1 million to $2 million; that prosecutors have not opposed bail for a number of other people recently accused of being Chinese agents in an unrelated case; and the special procedures required for a case involving sensitive security information.
Magistrate Vera Scanlon, in a telephone conference at the federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday, also said Angwang would be confined to his home except for trips to his lawyer and doctors, and could not travel outside the Eastern District, which includes Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Angwang is charged with four felonies, including acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the United States, wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction of an official proceeding.
Angwang is not charged with spying or espionage, but rather with providing his handlers at the Chinese consulate in New York with information on the activities of fellow Tibetans in the United States. Prosecutors have said he could face decades in prison if convicted.
One federal prosecutor, Michael Keilty, had called Angwang’s actions morally "spying on his neighbor … so repugnant."
Carman has said his client was only providing his handlers with publicly available information in order to get better visa terms for himself and other Tibetan nationals.