A New York City police officer from Williston Park accused of being an agent of China has been offered a plea deal that would carry a sentence with a possible wide range of imprisonment from time served to as much as 10 years in prison.
The disclosure in the case of Baimadajie Angwang, 33, a native of Tibet, that he would have to plead to a single count of violating the foreign agents registration act under the terms of the deal came during a telephonic status conference Wednesday in the federal court in Brooklyn.
Angwang’s attorney, John Carman, of Garden City, said at the conference that the living conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, because of coronavirus safeguards, are so restrictive that it is unreasonable to expect attorneys to adequately discuss their clients’ cases, including plea offers.
"While it levels criticism on China for its human rights violations, the United States' treatment of this Marine Corps veteran, who is presumed innocent, borders on sadistic," Carman said after the court appearance.
Angwang, a naturalized United States citizen who has been suspended from the 111th Precinct in Bayside, was charged in September with four felonies: acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the United States government, wire fraud, making false statements, and obstruction of an official proceedings.
Federal prosecutors have said that if convicted of those charges Angwang would face decades in prison.
The charges involve Angwang informing on activities of Tibetans in the United States who opposed China’s action in that land or who might be potential recruits for the Chinese government.
Assistant United States Attorney Scott Claffee briefly mentioned that the government had offered a plea deal to Angwang during the status conference; Carman outlined its details afterward.
The sentence would be determined by the presiding judge, and there is no precedent under sentencing guidelines as to what the probable sentence would be, Carman said.
The defense attorney said the plea agreement does not deal with whether or not Angwang would lose his citizenship if he accepts the plea.
In addition to he and his client having almost no access to each other, Carman said his client is being held in onerous conditions: locked down 23 ½ hours during weekdays; 24 hours on weekends, and allowed only two or three showers a week.
Carman said that he may make another attempt to have his client released on bond, among other things, increasing a new bond package greater than the $1 million previously proposed.
Both the judge overseeing the case, Eric Komitee and a federal appeals court have denied Angwang bail on the grounds he is a flight risk. The judge said he would review a new bail request, and he understood that conditions at the jail are "draconian," but they "may be required" to deal with the epidemic.
John Marzulli, spokesman for Eastern District prosecutors, declined to comment.