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Jack Sharman and Tatum Jackson Publish Law360 Article on Lessons from Charles Lieber Conviction

January 13, 2022

By: Jackson R. Sharman III and Tatum L. Jackson

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Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC partner Jack Sharman and associate Tatum Jackson authored a recent article for Law360 (subscription required) on the arrest and conviction of Harvard University nanoscientist Charles Lieber. In December 2021, a federal jury found the renowned chemist guilty of lying to the U.S. about tax documents and his involvement with a Chinese government recruitment program. 

In their article, Sharman and Jackson unpack the case's urgent lessons for white-collar attorneys and their clients, particularly in regards to the professor's post-arrest interview and the statements he made to FBI agents without counsel present.

"After being confronted early in the morning, [Lieber] was sufficiently aware to speculate aloud that he should have a lawyer — but he did not clearly and firmly demand one. His videotaped statements were apparently important to the jury," write Sharman and Jackson. "Why would somebody like Lieber — by all accounts, a genuinely brilliant and experienced professional — voluntarily make incriminating statements, even though, while he was making them, he was obviously aware that he should not?"

The authors go on to sketch a brief background of the prosecution initiative regarding Chinese espionage; summarize the key facts of Lieber's arrest and conviction; and conclude with practical notes for lawyers counseling their clients in stressful circumstances.

Read the article in its entirety here.

Sharman leads the firm's White-Collar Criminal Defense & Corporate Investigations practice and often speaks and writes on related legal subjects. He has served as special counsel in numerous high-profile matters, including the Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton, the impeachment investigation of a former Alabama Governor and an ongoing probe into actions by President Donald Trump during the 2020 election.

Jackson is a member of Sharman's team and focuses her practice on white-collar criminal cases. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law.

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