Judge tosses most charges against Kansas researcher
(AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday threw out three of four convictions against a Kansas researcher accused of illegally concealing work he was doing at a Chinese university while working at the University of Kansas, leaving only a conviction for making a false statement on a form.
A jury convicted researcher Feng “Franklin” Tao in April on three counts of wire fraud and one count of false statements. He was accused of not disclosing that he was working for Fuzhou University in China while employed at the Kansas university.
However, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled that federal prosecutors did not provide sufficient evidence to support the wire fraud convictions. She upheld the making a false statement conviction and denied Tao’s request for a new trial on that count.
Tao’s attorney, Peter Zeidenberg, said in a statement that the defense team was gratified that Robinson found Tao did not intend to defraud Kansas or the federal government, and that Tao was “an outstanding researcher and award-winning professor” at Kansas.
“This will hopefully drive a final stake through the heart of these China Initiative cases, where the government has claimed that the failure to disclose a relationship to China constitutes federal grant fraud even when the researcher has completed all of the work on the grant to the government’s complete satisfaction,” Zeidenberg wrote.
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