Last spring, SoCawlege and numerous other news outlets ran a story on Dr. Xi Xiaoxing, chairman of Temple University’s physics department, who was accused of sharing sensitive American-made technology with China.
On Friday September 11, the Justice Department dropped all charges against Dr. Xi, which included wire fraud for allegedly scheming to defraud a U.S. company.
The “damning” evidence collected by Federal agents that led Dr. Xi away in handcuffs, stripped him of his chairman position, and severely damaged his reputation turned out to be one big misunderstanding.
Turns out, the FBI misunderstood the science, and Dr. Xi never revealed the design of a device known as a pocket heater to anyone. Whoops?
In a public statement after receiving notice that prosecutors were seeking dismissal of the indictment “in the interest of justice” Dr. Xi said:
“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Dr. Xi, 57, said in a telephone interview. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”
According to Dr. Xi’s lawyer, Peter Zeidenberg, it appears the government never even consulted the ‘evidence’ with experts before taking the case to the grand jury, but rather assumed the worst given Professor Xiaoxing is of Chinese descent.
Zeidenberg had this to say:
“If he was Canadian-American or French-American, or he was from the U.K., would this have ever even got on the government’s radar? I don’t think so,” Mr. Zeidenberg said.
F.B.I. efforts to “get tough” on economic espionage continue to be incompetent as ever. Just a few months ago, a similar case of a hydrologist out of Wilmington, Ohio, was thrown out when the accused was believed to have used a stolen password to download information about the nation’s dams…. until it was deemed she didn’t.