Nine takeaways from conviction of Harvard University chemist for lying about ties to China
Last week, Harvard University chemist Charles Lieber became the first academic scientist targeted by the U.S. government’s controversial 3-year-old China Initiative to be found guilty by a jury. He may also be one of the last, says Andrew Lelling, the former U.S. attorney who charged Lieber nearly 2 years ago with lying about his research ties to China.
This high profile case and sentence will serve as an important precedent for current and future cases where researchers have undisclosed ties to China. The intent and rationale of the US may be contested, but it is a strong example of how undisclosed conflicts of interest can have serious consequences. We have included links to six related items.
Now in private practice at Jones Day, Lelling still defends the initiative. But he thinks the Department of Justice (DOJ) will “raise the bar” for prosecuting cases. And he predicts that new approach, combined with increased doubts among defense attorneys that a jury will acquit their clients, may prompt five scientists now awaiting trial (see table, below) to negotiate a plea bargain rather than risk an adverse verdict.