Trial date set for engineer charged with stealing schematics

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The Navy civilian engineer accused of stealing information about an aircraft carrier being built in Hampton Roads has a trial date set.

Mostafa Awwad, 35, was arrested earlier in December on two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and technical data. Prosecutors said Awwad tried to steal technical data in the designs of the Gerald R. Ford in late October while he worked for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Awwad provided computer drawings downloaded from the Navy to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer.

Awwad pleaded not guilty to the charges that he stole schematics of the Ford. His trial is set for June 16.

Document: Motion by the defendant

The Ford is the lead ship in a new class of carriers. It is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2016.

According to an FBI affidavit, Awwad began working for Navy last February in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s nuclear engineering and planning department.

An undercover agent speaking in Arabic contacted Awwad in September and the pair met the next day at a park. At the meeting, Awwad asserted that was his intention to use his position of trust with the Navy to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government.

Awwad was observed at his Navy office on Nov. 28 holding what appeared to be aircraft carrier design schematics, which he placed on the floor and photographed, the affidavit said.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count upon conviction.

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