Chinese tech giant Huawei said May 29 that it asked a judge to quickly decide in its favor in the company’s legal case challenging a U.S. law that restricts its business, on the grounds that it violates the U.S. constitution.
Huawei, in a statement, said it filed a motion in a Texas federal court seeking summary judgment, that is, judgment without a full trial, in a bid to speed up the legal case it filed in March against the U.S. government.
The world’s largest maker of telecommunications gear is suing the federal government over section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act passed last August, which bans federal agencies and their contractors from purchasing Huawei equipment. Lawmakers had added that provision due to national security risks associated with Huawei products.
The company is arguing that the ban is an unconstitutional “bill of attainder”—that is, that the law illegally singled out the company for punishment without trial.
Huawei’s chief legal officer Song Liuping said at a press conference in Shenzhen City, China on May 29 that the U.S. government has not provided evidence to show that the company poses a national security threat.
Concerns over Huawei have heightened in Washington since a 2012 congressional report concluded that, based on classified and unclassified evidence, the company’s products could pose a security threat.
Since then, a growing list of U.S. lawmakers, officials, and experts have sounded the alarm on Huawei’s equipment, stating that they could be used by Beijing as a conduit for spying and to disrupt communication networks, given the company’s close ties to the Chinese regime’s military and security apparatus. They further point to the fact that Huawei is compelled by Chinese security laws to cooperate with authorities and grant access to data when asked.
A hearing on the motion is set for Sept. 19, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Legal experts previously interviewed by Reuters said Huawei is highly unlikely to win this case because ruling in its favor would require the court to second-guess national security determinations made by Congress–something the courts are generally reluctant to do.
Given this, commentators have suggested the case is the Chinese company’s effort to drum up public opinion in its favor. The firm has ramped up a public relations campaign to allay criticisms since its chief financial officer (CFO) was arrested in Canada last December over charges relating to violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Earlier this month, the U.S. administration placed Huawei on a blacklist, effectively banning Huawei from doing business with American suppliers. Since then, a raft of U.S. companies, including Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Intel, have suspended its business with the company. Foreign companies, including UK-based chip designer ARM and German chipmaker Infineon Technologies, have also followed suit.
The Chinese tech firm is indicted in two separate U.S. prosecutions. In the first indictment, the Justice Department (DOJ) accuses the company and its CFO Meng Wanzhou of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran by lying to banks about its relationship with a Hong Kong firm Skycom—which prosecutors say was an unofficial subsidiary of Huawei that conducted its business in Iran.
Meng is currently in Canada fighting extradition to the United States.
In the second case, the DOJ charged two units of the company with conspiring to steal trade secrets from U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile relating to a phone-testing robot named Tappy.
The company has pleaded not guilty in both cases.