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Ex-Harvard researcher gets no more prison time


Charles Lieber, a prominent chemist convicted of hiding research ties to China, will not serve any more prison time, a federal judge has ruled, Nature reported.

District Judge Rya Zobel sentenced Lieber, formerly at Harvard University, to time already served—which amounted to two days of incarceration—plus two years of supervised release. He will spend the first six months of that release confined to his home. Lieber was also ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, as well as $34,000 to the Internal Revenue Service, which he has already submitted.

Marc Mukasey, Lieber’s lawyer, told Nature in a statement, “We are grateful for the outcome.”

Lieber was found guilty by a jury in December 2021 on six counts of making false statements to federal agents, filing false tax returns and failing to disclose a foreign bank account in China. He told investigators that he was not associated with a Chinese talent-recruitment program—the Thousand Talents Plan—when in fact he was recruited through the program to lead a laboratory at the Wuhan University of Technology, in China. Participating in a foreign talent-recruitment program is not illegal, but lying to federal agents about it is.

He was paid, but did not report to the IRS, about $200,000.

Lieber was tried under the now-defunct China Initiative of the Justice Department.


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