Former Harvard Chemistry chair Charles M. Lieber moved one step closer to a trial on federal charges on Friday as his attorneys and prosecutors confirmed they have completed discovery and agreed to meet for a pretrial status conference.
The two sides met for their final status conference before Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts Friday afternoon. In a joint status report submitted to the court Thursday, attorneys for the government and Lieber assented to the pretrial status conference before a different district judge who would conduct the trial. The parties also agreed that all discovery requests have been completed and resolved.
In the joint status report, which Bowler called “very thorough,” attorneys for the government wrote that “the defendant anticipates filing a motion to suppress the defendant’s post-arrest statements on or before July 12, 2021.” If Lieber’s team does file the motion, the government will have until Aug. 6 to respond.
Throughout the summer, both parties are expected to file additional substantive motions. After all substantive motions conclude, a trial date will be set.
The government counsel concluded the status report by writing that they “anticipate that the trial in this matter will last approximately two weeks.”
At a previous status conference in March, Marc L. Mukasey, one of Lieber’s attorneys, argued that an imminent trial would be necessary due to Lieber’s deteriorating health condition. Lieber is battling “a very advanced form of lymphoma,” Mukasey said in March.
In June 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Lieber on charges that he made fraudulent statements to federal authorities investigating funding he had received from the Chinese government. Lieber allegedly lied to the Defense Department and the National Institutes of Health about his ties to China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a talent recruitment program.
The following month, Lieber was additionally indicted on four related tax offenses for allegedly failing to report income from Chinese sources.
Lieber has maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings and pleaded innocent on all charges. A federal charge for making false statements allows for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
In an emailed statement, Torrey K. Young, another one of Lieber’s attorneys, wrote that Lieber welcomes trial.
“Dr. Lieber looks forward to a jury trial and full exoneration,” she wrote.
—Staff writer Andy Z. Wang can be reached at email@example.com.