Professor, NASA researcher pleads guilty in China ties case

By JUAN A. LOZANO
Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) — A NASA researcher and Texas A&M University professor pleaded guilty to charges related to hiding his ties to a university created by the Chinese government while accepting federal grant money. Zhengdong Cheng pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston Thursday to two counts: violation of NASA regulations and falsifying official documents. Cheng had been charged with wire fraud, conspiracy and false statements when he was arrested in August 2020. But he pleaded guilty to new charges as part of a plea agreement.  Cheng was sentenced to the time he had already served, about 13 months. Cheng’s conviction was part of a program called the China Initiative, which has been abandoned by the Justice Department after bias complaints.

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