Jia Bei Zhu, the Chinese national who led the secret illegal biolab in Reedley entered a “not guilty” plea beforeFresno’s Federal Court on Tuesday.
Zhu’s initial appearance was delayed amid issues regarding injuries he sustained while resisting arrest from U.S. Food and Drug Administration agents.
Driving the news: At his court appearance, Zhu, who identified himself as “David He,” pleaded not guilty to misbranding medical devices and lying to officials about the illegal lab.
- Zhu’s defense attorney, Tony Capozzi, claimed that his client had injuries to his face from the arrest, including a big welt on his forehead and marks on his nose.
- Zhu’s attorney stated that his client speaks little English and may not have fully understood the authorities’ directions during his arrest, leading to his resistance. Zhu was under the impression he was coming to meet the Reedley officials.
The big picture: If convicted, Zhu faces three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the misbranding of medical devices charges, and five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the charges of making false statements to authorities.
What they’re saying: Capozzi, Zhu’s attorney, believes there is more to discover as “discovery” begins in the case.
- “I think this case is probably more of a misunderstanding than anything else,” said Capozzi. “He’s been working for a company that has tried to develop and do some research, and the government came in and seized all of the research that he had and destroyed it.”