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Trump pardons former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski

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WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had given a full pardon to a former Google engineer sentenced for stealing a trade secret on self-driving cars months before he briefly headed Uber Technologies Inc's rival unit.

Anthony Levandowski, 40, was sentenced in August to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty in March. He was not in custody but a judge had said he could enter custody once the COVID-19 pandemic subsided.

The White House said Levandowski was "an American entrepreneur who led Google’s efforts to create self-driving technology."

The statement added he had "paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good." Alphabet Inc's Google did not immediately comment.

Levandowski transferred more than 14,000 Google files, including development schedules and product designs, to his personal laptop before he left, and while negotiating a deal with Uber, where he briefly led its self-driving car unit. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)