The Washington Post
Professor with ties to China is acquitted
A federal judge on Thursday threw out all charges against a University of Tennessee professor accused of hiding his relationship with a Chinese university while receiving research grants from NASA.
Anming Hu was arrested in February 2020 and charged with three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements. The arrest was part of a Justice Department crackdown under President Donald Trump’s administration against university researchers who conceal their ties to Chinese institutions.
A jury in June deadlocked after three days of deliberation, and U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan declared a mistrial. Last month, prosecutors filed a notice that they intended to retry the case. Varlan ruled to acquit on all charges Thursday, responding to a motion Hu’s attorney made at trial that Varlan had declined to immediately rule on.
Hu began working for the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2013 and later was invited by another professor to help apply for a research grant from NASA. That grant application was not successful, but two later applications were. A 2012 law forbids NASA from collaborating with China or Chinese companies. The U.S. government has interpreted that prohibition to include Chinese universities, and Hu was a faculty member at the Beijing University of Technology in addition to his position at UT.