Harvard Professor Charles Lieber Found Guilty of Lying About China Ties
By Isabella B. Cho, Brandon L. Kingdollar, and Mayesha R. Soshi, Crimson Staff Writers
21 December 2021
BOSTON — Harvard professor Charles M. Lieber was found guilty of lying to government authorities about his ties to China in federal court on Tuesday, concluding a stunning downfall for one of the country’s top chemists.
Jurors found Lieber guilty on all six felony charges, including two counts of making false statements and four related tax offenses. Federal prosecutors said Lieber, 62, chased money and Nobel hopes past the limits of the law by concealing his ties to China’s Thousand Talents Program in misleading statements to investigators and falsely-reported tax returns.
Jurors deliberated for just shy of three hours before coming to a verdict Tuesday. Lieber showed little reaction as the verdict was announced in court.
Lieber’s conviction marks a high-profile victory for the Department of Justice’s China Initiative, which critics have accused of targeting individuals of Chinese descent and prosecutorial misconduct.
Lieber was arrested on Harvard’s campus in January 2020 on suspicion of lying to federal officials about his involvement in the TTP, a state-sponsored Chinese recruitment program that seeks to bring academic talent to the country. Prosecutors charged that Lieber lied about his ties to the program in interviews with the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health, which funded his research with millions of dollars in grant money.