Charges against Temple University Physics Department Chair Professor Xiaoxing Xi have been dropped in light of “new information,” the U.S. Justice Department said.
He was indicted for sharing “sensitive” information with colleagues in China about a piece of laboratory equipment used in his superconductivity research.
Prof. Xi has maintained his innocence since the charges were filed in May.
The charges were dropped after several sworn affidavits from scientists that confirmed that schematics Xi sent to Chinese scientists had nothing to do with the proprietary device.
“I don’t expect them to understand everything I do,” Xi told the New York Times. “But the fact that they don’t consult with experts and then charge me? Put my family through all of this? Damage my reputation? They shouldn’t do this. This is not a joke. This is not a game.”
Federal prosecutors filed a motion Friday to dismiss the case.
“The leadership of the American Physical Society is immensely relieved to learn of the government’s dismissal of the charges against Professor Xiaoxing Xi,” said American Physical Society Pres. Sam Aronson. “We are deeply concerned for Professor Xi and his family regarding the ordeal that they have recently endured. We hope that Professor Xi will rapidly be able to resume his research and teaching career in physics.”
“I am relieved and really hope that this will [be] the end of a nightmare,” Xi told APS News. “Of course, the damage has been done. I don’t know how long [it] would take for me to repair it.”
Prof. Xi told Temple Update that he has been advised by his lawyer to maintain discretion until otherwise notified. He forwarded a statement on September 12th which detailed the hardships he and his family have endured over the past several months, and thanked many, including the Temple University, for “treating (him) in the true spirit of ‘presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.'”
Xi closed his statement, saying:
At the right time, I will tell my side of the story. Not just to clear my name and repair my reputation, but to do my part in making sure that no American citizen, regardless of where he or she was born, should have to be put through the ordeal that I have gone through.
Here’s a Temple-produced video in which Xi explains his work:
[h/t Gizmodo, Philly.com]
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