Harvard’s Lieber Fighting Terminal Cancer While Preparing for Trial
Charles Lieber, on leave as chairman of Harvard’s Chemistry Department to battle charges of making false statements and failing to report income from China, has ruled out the possibility of a plea agreement and is seeking a trial expeditiously because he also “has a very advanced form of lymphoma” and “conventional treatments have failed.” According to an April 7 article in TheHarvard Crimson, Marc L. Mukasey, Lieber’s attorney, told Massachusetts District Court Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler that Lieber “frankly does not have time for delay, procrastination, and stalling.”
Several attorneys interviewed by the publication said Lieber’s defense team may be able to argue that any possible violations were not made knowingly or that requirements and disclosures were vague and that he may have thought he was being truthful. They also noted that Harvard itself will likely be a large focus of the trial and that the government’s efforts to thwart Chinese theft of intellectual property may have unfairly ensnared Lieber. His attorneys filed suit against Harvard in October for failing to pay for his defense. Harvard’s decision prompted nearly four dozen professors, including seven Nobel laureates, to author a March 1 open letter of support for Lieber. The next status conference for the case is scheduled for April 28.