Trial starts for Harvard prof accused of lying about ties to lab research in Wuhan
Charles Lieber, former chair of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is accused of lying to the federal government.
Lieber was allegedly paid $1.5 million to establish a research lab in Wuhan.
Former Harvard professor Charles Lieber is standing trial this week on charges of lying to the federal government about his ties to China. A jury was selected on Dec. 14, as reported by Reuters.
Lieber, the former chair of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is accused of lying to both the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense about his involvement in the Thousand Talents Program.
The Thousand Talents Program is operated by the Chinese government to recruit and train scientists whose work will advance China’s global interests.
The Department of Justice says Lieber was paid $1.5 million to establish a research lab in Wuhan and that he was paid up to $50,000 monthly plus $150,000 annually by the Wuhan Institute of Technology.
Lieber’s work at Harvard used funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. As a condition of receiving those research grants, Lieber was required to disclose to the government all his sources of research funding.
The Department of Justice alleges that he failed to disclose the Chinese funding, and in June, a federal grand jury indicted Lieber on two charges of lying to the government. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Faculty members across the country have spoken out in Lieber’s defense. More than two dozen academics signed on to an open letter in March which called Lieber “one of the great scientists of his generation” and "the target of a tragically misguided government campaign that is discouraging U.S. scientists from collaborating with peers in other countries, particularly China.”
Each of the charges against Lieber carries a possible sentence of up to 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.
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