The "officer", Baimadajie Angwang, was recently tested positive to COVID-19 while awaiting trial in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.
Angwang is accused of passing information on Tibetan immigrants to the Chinese consulate for about six years while working as an NYPD officer. He was charged with acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign country, wire fraud, false statements, and obstruction of an official proceeding last September.
Angwang’s attorney John Carman presented a bail motion, claiming that his client was undergoing “diarrhea, vomiting, sweats, chills, body aches, and cough." He further cited 100 new COVID-19 cases and recent deaths of two of Angwang’s fellow inmates as evidence of the danger posed to his client.
The attorney announced that in early February, two inmates had died in their cells from COVID-19 in the span of three days. Virus-induced restrictions have hurt his client’s ability to participate in his own defense, Carman wrote.
Assistant US Attorney Matthew Haggis, though, opposed the decision, claiming that if Angwang entered the Chinese consulate in New York, the government would have no ability to recover him “short of an act of war.”
The judge reversed his previous ruling dismissing Angwang bail over concerns of coronavirus conditions at the MDC, where the Marine has been held in solitary confinement for four months — and in light of a new beefed-up bond.
U.S. District Judge Eric Komitee ruled in favor of the defense’s $2 million bail motion, agreeing that the jail’s sudden peak in COVID-19 cases posed a threat to Angwang’s life.
“It’s fair to say the picture at the MDC was different in a meaningful way in early October,” Komitee announced. “You have [now] what looks like a significant spike in the rate and severity of COVID cases.”
Carman proposed a $2 million bail package — doubling the amount originally offered — to be secured by a pair of Maryland properties worth a combined $520,000 and the $450,000 equity in the Long Island home Angwang shares with his wife and daughter.
In changing his position, Komitee presented another case in which five prisoners were freed on relatively low bonds after they were charged with planning to force people in the US to return to China by threatening to harm their families.
After Angwang was busted in September on charges of acting as an agent for a foreign government, obstruction, wire fraud and making false statements, Judge Lois Bloom granted his release on a $1 million bond to house arrest with electronic monitoring.
The government appealed and Komitee overturned her decision.