Kansas professor avoids jail in blow to Trump-era China-related probe By Reuters

© Reuters. Feng “Franklin” Tao, a professor on the College of Kansas, seems in an undated picture offered by the varsity. College of Kansas/Kelsey Kimberlin/Handout through REUTERS

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – A College of Kansas professor prevented jail on Wednesday for making a false assertion associated to work he was doing in China within the newest setback for a Trump-era U.S. Division of Justice crackdown on Chinese language affect inside American academia.

Prosecutors had requested U.S. District Choose Julie Robinson in Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, to condemn Feng “Franklin” Tao to 2-1/2 years in jail, even after the choose in September threw out most of his trial conviction for concealing work he did in China.

Robinson as an alternative sentenced the chemical engineering professor to time served with no fantastic or restitution. Peter Zeidenberg, his lawyer, in an e-mail mentioned Tao was “immensely relieved by the sentence.”

Tao, who was indicted in 2019, was amongst about two dozen lecturers who had been charged as a part of the “China Initiative,” which launched in 2018 throughout former Republican President Donald Trump’s period and aimed to counter suspected Chinese language financial espionage and analysis theft.

Tao, 51, has denied wrongdoing, and Zeidenberg mentioned he plans to enchantment his conviction on the one remaining depend within the case for failing to reveal his affiliation with a Chinese language college on a type submitted to the College of Kansas.

The Justice Division didn’t reply to requests for remark.

The Justice Division below Democratic President Joe Biden in February 2022 ended the China Initiative following a number of failed prosecutions and criticism that it chilled analysis and fueled bias towards Asians, although it mentioned it might proceed pursuing circumstances over nationwide safety threats posed by China.

Prosecutors mentioned Tao, who labored on renewable power tasks, hid his affiliation with Fuzhou College in China from the College of Kansas and two federal companies that offered grant funding for the professor’s analysis.

A jury in April convicted him of 4 of the eight counts towards him. However Robinson in September overturned three wire fraud convictions, citing a scarcity of proof.

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