Statement by U.S. Attorney Rollins on Dropping Charges in Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Gang Chen Case – New Bedford Guide
3 years ago, the US government enacted the China Initiative, which aims to prevent China from stealing US-funded research. Critics of the initiative say it is a case of racial profiling that embroils innocent people in legal battles and the threat of criminal penalties.
Gang Chen, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, was accused of lying to the Department of Energy on a 2017 grant application, failing to declare a foreign bank account and making a false statement about his tax return and was charged in January 2021.
Yesterday, US Justice Department prosecutors asked District Court Judge Patti Saris to dismiss the charges against Professor Chen based on new information in the case.
Rob Fisher, Chen’s attorney said of the dismissal, “Today is a great day. The government has finally recognized what we have been saying all along: Professor Gang Chen is an innocent man. He was never a foreign scientist for Beijing. He disclosed everything he was supposed to disclose and he never lied to the government or anyone else.
Official statement from US Attorney Rachael Rollins:
“Today’s dismissal of criminal charges against Gang Chen is the result of our ongoing investigation into this matter.
Through this effort, we recently obtained additional information regarding the materiality of Professor Chen’s alleged omissions in the context of the grant review process at issue in this case. After careful evaluation of this new information in the context of the totality of the evidence, our office has concluded that we can no longer meet our burden of proof at trial.
As prosecutors, we have an obligation, in every case we prosecute, to continually review the facts while being open to receiving and discovering new information. We understand that our pricing decisions have a profound impact on people’s lives.
As a United States Attorney, I will always encourage prosecutors in our office to engage in this type of rigorous and ongoing review at every stage of a proceeding. Today’s dismissal is the result of this process and is in the interests of justice.