UT engineering professor acquitted of wire fraud, false statement charges

Local News

(file/MGN photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A University of Tennessee engineering professor has been acquitted of charges that alleged he hid his ties with a Chinese university from the federal government.

Anming Hu, 51, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at UTK, was acquitted Thursday of all six charges against him, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false statements.

A federal judge declared a mistrial in June after jurors could not come to a verdict in the case against Hu. At the time, defense attorney Phil Lomonaco attacked the case as flimsy, misguided and political.

Hu was arrested in February 2020. The charges were part of a broader Justice Department crackdown against university researchers who conceal their ties to Chinese institutions. Federal officials asserted that the Chinese government was trying to steal intellectual property from America’s colleges and universities.

Prosecutors alleged Hu defrauded the National Aeronautics and Space Administration by failing to disclose that he was also a professor at the Beijing University of Technology in China. Under federal law, NASA cannot fund or give grant money to Chinese-owned companies or universities.

Lomonaco said Hu was not told by UT that he needed to disclose his time at the Chinese university.

Hu’s wife Ivy Yang spoke said in June that the case left her family in “shambles.”

“I have a younger daughter who was only 4-years-old at the time, so she didn’t know what happened, so she kept asking me when can we go and see dad,” Yang said. “She misses her dad every day. My heart breaks for my three children.”

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