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Court allows prof. falsely accused of spying to pursue lawsuit against U.S. gov’t

Years after the U.S. government falsely accused Temple University Professor Xiaoxing Xi of spying for China, the courts are finally allowing him to seek justice.

Xi originally filed a lawsuit against the FBI in 2017, claiming that an FBI agent involved with his case had misrepresented evidence. A lower court dismissed the lawsuit in 2021, forcing Xi and his lawyers to ask the federal courts to reconsider the case in 2022.

According to a press release from the ACLU, Xi will now get an opportunity to seek justice. Today, the Third Circuit United States Court of Appeals said it will allow Xi and his family to pursue their lawsuit against the FBI and the Justice Department.

In 2015, the Justice Department and FBI claimed that Xi was a spy sharing sensitive technology with scientists in China. The case was eventually dismissed after Xi’s attorneys showed the courts that the FBI did not have enough evidence and did not understand the type of technology Xi was working with.

Xi’s lawsuit claims that the FBI violated the family’s constitutional rights against illegal searches and surveillance. According to a press release from the ACLU, the lawsuit states that the FBI specifically violated Xi’s fourth amendment rights when they used Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on him without a warrant.

“This is the first step in a long path to some semblance of justice for me, my family, and the broader community of Chinese scientists and scientists of Chinese descent who have been falsely accused of spying because of where we were born,” said Temple University professor Xiaoxing Xi, in the ACLU press release.

The ACLU has praised the court’s decision.

“Professor Xi and his family have been through hell these past eight years because of the FBI’s discriminatory profiling and unconstitutional surveillance,” Patrick Toomey, deputy director of ACLU’s National Security Project, said in the press release. “We are thrilled that Professor Xi and his family will finally have their day in court.”

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