Former UC Davis Researcher Attends Hearing, May Be Released on Bail

September 1, 2020 Updated: September 1, 2020

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Former researcher Juan Tang attended her Sept. 1 hearing via video conference on Zoom before Judge John Mendez.

Tang, a Chinese national who was a researcher at the University of California, Davis, was charged on June 26 for allegedly lying in her visa application and concealing her status as a member of the Chinese military.

Heiko Coppola, the attorney representing the United States, said they have found about 2.6 GB worth of data from Tang’s devices. They expect to make more discoveries in the coming weeks.

Tang now has three lawyers—Malcolm Segal, Thomas Johnson, and Patrick Wong.

Coppola filed a motion to stay and plan to have the appeal on file by Sept. 11. Segal would have about a week to respond.

According to a report by South China Morning Post, a judge ruled on Aug. 28 that Tang would be released on bail.

Judge Kendall Newman oversaw Tang’s bail, which had been denied by Judge Deborah Barnes on July 31 over concerns about her ties to China. Newman cited COVID-19 concerns for her release.

An anonymous Chinese American lawyer going by “Mr. C,” who didn’t know Tang before, appeared in court as a third-party custodian, a person who ensures that the criminal is protected and doesn’t escape.

He initially wanted to bail her out with $500,000 from his home equity. However, Judge Newman will grant her release if Mr. C agrees to post $750,000. At the time of this writing, Tang is still in custody, and she will remain so until the secured bond is posted.

According to court documents, Mr. C is a civil attorney who can speak Mandarin and English.

He would keep Tang at his private residence, where he lives with his wife. Mr. C is also willing to accommodate any monitoring ordered by the court and assist with pretrial services.

“They have not once talked to Dr. Tang, they are seeing her for the first time today,” Coppola said. “This is really a case like no other in terms of her lack of ties to the community—notwithstanding Mr. C and his family and their offer.”

Tang hid in the San Francisco Chinese Consulate for a month and was arrested on July 23 after tension between the United States and China escalated and the Chinese Houston Consulate was ordered to close by July 24.

After a federal grand jury indicted Tang on August 6, charging her with visa fraud and false statements, Tang replaced her public defender, Lexi Negin, with Sacramento lawyer Malcolm Segal. In early 2000, he defended Dr. Fidel Realyvasquez, Jr., a surgeon accused of performing hundreds of unnecessary cardiac bypasses.

Then Tang added Johnson, who is another Sacramento lawyer, and Wong, a South Bay lawyer.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, Judge Mendez will exclude time between the Sept. 1 hearing and Sept. 22 for the defendant.

The next hearing was not set. However, the judge will announce a hearing if needed, not necessarily on a Tuesday. For now, he set the case for further status on Oct. 6.