If convicted on the 16 counts of first-degree computer trespass, Gerald Eastman, 46, faces up to 4 3/4 years in prison, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Wednesday. The trial, which commenced Tuesday, is expected to last about two weeks.
The ex-assembly inspector is accused of downloading thousands of company files without authorization, the newspaper said. He allegedly funneled that information to the media because of his concerns about assembly-line inspection procedures at the aircraft company's Tukwila plant, the Post-Intelligencer reported.
Eastman, an 18-year company employee who was arrested in May 2006, had informed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration of those concerns.
But rather than being a whistleblower, senior deputy prosecutor Scott Peterson contends Eastman was a disgruntled worker who took information having to do with sales projections, new business ventures and design information that competitors such as Airbus "would like to know."