A federal prosecutor’s technical spy expert gets some egg in a high-level espionage case dismissal

The Justice Department on Friday moved to drop wire fraud charges against Temple University professor Xiaoxing Xi, marking a setback in efforts by the FBI and the Obama administration to counter what they say is a growing problem of economic espionage.

In a rare example of feds turning from a prosecution, with all their tech resources in science, the recently dismissed spy charges against  US Temple University physics professor Xi Xiaoxing is rare. He was accused of sending technical information [ a “schematic of lab equipment” which first was called a “pocket heater” which was later refuted as “not a pocket heater” and then re-described as an example of “thin-film research” ] to a Chinese colleague. Various reasons given for the dismissal boils down to  “new evidence” [ not explained by the feds ] appeared which led to a  “in the interest of justice” change of direction.

“…it appeared that the government never consulted with experts before taking the case to a grand jury.” [from his defense attorney who opened up on the mish-mash of fed misinterpretations ]

In a motion to dismiss, filed late Friday [on Feb 11 ], prosecutors said that since they filed the charges, “additional information came to the attention of the government” that warranted the case’s being dropped. A spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment further. The office asked to dismiss the case without prejudice, meaning it could be revived. That helps keep the defendant very quiet. At the time of this post, the judge has not issued a determination on the DOJ motion.

The new evidence came from experts outside direct governmental control explaining some “tech science” to the feds.

Can the professor sue for damages? Nope. Or at  least very unlikely. Plus the dismissal motion is allows for reopening his prosecution.

WHO DID THE FEDS USE AS THEIR EXPERT? They’re mum about that as well. Maybe he can go after whoever it was in civil court. That hasn’t worked too well either.

Professor Xi comments says it all.

“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.”

Jurist Sept 13, 2015

Wall Street Journal Sept 11, 2015

New York Times Sept 11, 2015

Philly.com Sept 13, 2015


About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in Exoneration costs, Forensic science misconduct and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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