A U.S. judge Tuesday disqualified James Cole, a Washington lawyer for China’s Huawei, from defending the telecom equipment manufacturer in opposition to charges of financial institution fraud and sanctions violations.
Judge Ann Donnelly of U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York, issued her order after federal prosecutors argued that Cole’s prior work at the Division of Justice developed conflicts of interest.
Cole served as the deputy attorney general, the No. 2 delegate, at the Justice Division between 2011 and 2015.
Cole, an associate at the law agency Sidley Austin, stated he had no recollection of matters referenced as the basis for his refusal. He didn’t instantly respond to a request for touch upon the judge’s decision.
In the May courtroom filing, the federal government argued that, as deputy attorney general, Cole “supervised and took part in aspects of” a related inquiry, but stated the details have been categorized.
A redacted version of Donnelly’s choice to disqualify Cole shall be made public by January 10, the judge stated in her order.
The criminal case in opposition to Huawei accuses the corporate of conspiring to defraud HSBC Holdings and other banks by lying about its connection with a company that operated in Iran. Prosecutors stated Huawei put the banks at risk of penalties for processing transactions that violated U.S. penalties.
Cole filed a not guilty plea on behalf of Huawei and its U.S. unit in March.
The company’s COO, Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei’s founder, is fighting extradition from Canada, where she was arrested last year for her role in the alleged fraud.