Filing: Kansas professor’s prosecution criminalizes job disputes


Feng “Franklin” Tao

BELLE PLAINE, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for a Kansas researcher ensnared in a U.S. government crackdown on Chinese economic espionage and trade secret theft have filed a motion seeking to throw out the charges.

The defense calls the indictment a “breathtaking example of prosecutorial overreach” and says it opens the door to criminalizing disputes better resolved by the workplace.

Feng “Franklin” Tao of Lawrence, Kansas, was indicted last year for not disclosing on conflict-of-interest forms work he was allegedly doing for China while employed at the University of Kansas.

The defense motion filed Friday takes aim at the broader China Initiative announced by the Justice Department in 2018.

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