Charges against Tulane professors accused of attempting to steal trade secrets dropped

Charges against Tulane professors accused of attempting to steal trade secrets dropped
Two Tulane professors face a seven count federal indictment for allegedly conspiring to steal trade secrets from the Water Institute of the Gulf. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - In a shocking development, federal charges brought against two Tulane University professors accused of attempting to steal trade secrets have been dropped.

A grand jury returned a combined seven-count indictment against the two professors on May 29. In court documents filed Monday (July 15), the U.S. Attorney’s Office said upon further investigation, the government could not meet its burden of proof and dismissed the charges.

Ehab Meselhe and Kelin Hu were both accused of stealing trade secrets centered around a computer simulation of a program called the Basin Wide Model, which was developed at the Water Institute of Baton Rouge. Legal experts said it is very rare for the government to indict someone, just to drop the charges such a short time later.

After the indictment, Meselhe’s attorney said the FBI never interviewed Meselhe before arresting him. His lawyer also maintained that neither professor did anything wrong.

King Milling with America’s Wetlands Foundation also questioned the charges last month.

“I’m surprised that such indictments would arise, because the knowledge base is unique to this state, but not unique to one institution,” Milling said.

After the indictment was handed down, Tulane University said both professor’s employment status would be determined after an internal review. University representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

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