A New York City police officer from Williston Park accused of being a Chinese agent was granted bail Friday on his third attempt after his attorney revealed he had contracted the coronavirus while being held in the federal jail in Brooklyn.
Judge Eric Komitee said it was "a close call" when he denied bail initially in October for Baimadajie Angwang, 33, but now the situation had markedly changed.
Among the new factors, the judge cited at a telephone conference in federal court in Brooklyn were: the spike in virus case at the jail; an increase in the bail package Angwang offered, including the number of people willing to guarantee the bail; the fact that Eastern District prosecutors had more recently allowed bail for a number of people also arrested as agents of China; and that because of the secrecy of the evidence involved, clearing it for use, would force the case drag on for an unusually lengthy time.
The exact timing of Angwang’s release, because he is currently under quarantine, is under review and most likely will not be decided until next week, the judge said.
The conditions would include Angwang being under electronic monitoring and confined to his home.
This time, Angwang, a Marine veteran and current member of the Army Reserve doubled his proposed bail package from about $1 million dollars to $2 million, and added four new people to guarantee the payment of the bail to the nine who already had done so, including four Marine friends.
John Carman, the attorney for Angwang, and Eastern District federal prosecutors have clashed over whether the police officer is a flight risk and whether he can conduct an adequate defense from the jail in the four months since the police officer was arrested on 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, a naturalized United States citizen who is a Tibetan native, is not charged with espionage or spying.
He is essentially charged with informing on the activities of other Tibetans natives in the United States, some of whom might be sympathetic to recruitment by his handlers in the Chinese consulate.
In addition, Angwang is accused of not informing the government, in getting military security clearance, of his contacts with his handlers, and also that he had maintained close relationships with relatives in China, including his parents. Some relatives were members of the Chinese Communist Party or belonged to the People’s Liberation Army.
Carman has said that his client’s ties to the United States are much stronger than his ties to China. He said that the government has exaggerated the seriousness of the case, saying his client was providing publicly available information in order to get the Chinese to provide better visa terms for himself and fellow Tibetans. The Chinese government discriminates against Tibetans in the granting of travel documents, Carman has said.
Federal prosecutors have argued that Angwang essentially has pledged his loyalty to China in wire taps, and if released on bail all he has to do is manage to get to the Chinese consulate in New York, which is sovereign territory, and he would beyond the reach of the U.S. government.
Carman said his client had been held in inhumane conditions.
"Mr. Angwang is beyond grateful for the Court’s decision to release him," Carman said.
The spokesman for Eastern District prosecutors, John Marzulli, declined to comment.