A Harvard University nanotechnology professor fighting federal grant fraud charges said the agents who arrested him tricked and coerced him into making statements and ignored his request to have an attorney present. Harvard professor Charles Lieber — arrested shortly before dawn on Jan. 28, 2020, for allegedly lying on federal grant forms about his research and funding ties to China — said Monday federal agents ignored his request for counsel and then “unlawfully employed tactics of trickery and coerced involuntary statements” from him.The professor, currently on leave from Harvard, wants a Massachusetts federal judge to suppress all statements he made after he asked for a lawyer, along with all evidence the government derived from that interview and the videotape of the three hours of questioning in the interrogation room at the Harvard University Police Department.The filing does not state what Lieber told the agents during the interview. The government has not yet responded to the motion.Presented by two federal agents with a Miranda waiver to sign, Lieber responded: “No, I understand my rights I guess. Um, yeah, I’m willing to sign this, but I guess I think probably I should have ah, an attorney,” according to a transcript in the court papers.The professor’s attorneys said Lieber that morning was in physical pain from his battle with cancer, hadn’t eaten yet, and was “blindsided by federal agents who ransacked his office, arrested him and hauled him off for questioning.”Lieber said the federal agent responded to his request for an attorney by repeating the Miranda warning until the professor waived his rights.The agent, having understood the professor’s request, should have halted his questioning and asked the professor to clarify his request rather than interrupting him to confuse him into agreeing to waive his right to remain silent, Lieber said. “He had never been arrested before, and when the agent interrupted his request to read his rights yet again, professor Lieber believed he had no choice but to answer the agent’s questions,” the professor’s lawyers wrote.Additionally, the agents misrepresented their investigation to Lieber, claiming it had to do with national security concerns about China and protecting him from Chinese intelligence agencies, according to the motion. Lieber’s attorney, Marc L. Mukasey of Mukasey Frenchman & Sklaroff LLP, said in a statement Wednesday, “This is a critically important case to Dr. Lieber, and also for the cause of academic freedom and good faith scientific collaboration. We will leave no stone unturned.”A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Wednesday.
You, dear readers, know my advice about talking to the FBI: don't. If the FBI — or any law enforcement agency — asks to talk to you, say "No, I want to talk to my lawyer, I don't want to talk to you," and repeat as necessary. Do not talk to them "just to see what they want." Do not try to "set the facts straight." Do not try to outwit them. Do not explain that you have "nothing to hide."Shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up, shut up.
If they can do this to the chair of the Harvard chemistry department, they can do it to me, and they can do it to you.