The U.S. attorney's office in Louisiana dropped charges against two Tulane University professors who were accused of stealing trade secrets from a Baton Rouge nonprofit after it was discovered key pieces of evidence were left out of an initial FBI investigation. According to a Nola.com report, the water research nonprofit Water Institute of the Gulf may have left out emails that would undermine the claims made by the nonprofit against professors Ehab Meselhe and Kelin Hu, who worked at the institute before leaving for Tulane.
Prosecutors said they could not satisfy the burden of proof based on the new information, as an email left out of the initial investigation showed Water Institute of the Gulf CEO Justin Ehrenwerth was told Meselhe intended to take the information in question and Ehrenwerth did not explicitly tell him not to. A statement from the nonprofit said all necessary information was turned over to investigators. Tulane spokesperson Michael Strecker said Tulane was "thrilled all charges had been dropped" against the professors.
"Meselhe and Hu remain key members of our river and coastal science and engineering faculty, and we look forward to their continued work that is so fundamental to the future of Louisiana and the entire Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast. Tulane is fortunate to count Hu and Meselhe, a nationally renowned coastal engineer, among its team of researchers dedicated to addressing the central questions facing our region."