Mount Pleasant biotech company scientist set to plead guilty to campaign finance violations
The principal scientist of Mount Pleasant biotech company GenPhar is scheduled to plead guilty Friday in connection with illegal campaign contributions made to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Danher Wang’s plea has been expected for some time. Her estranged husband, embattled GenPhar founder Jian-Yun Dong, has said Wong has positioned herself to become the government’s star witness in the case against him.
Wang inked an agreement with the government earlier this month in which she agreed to plead guilty to using at least one straw donor and foreign cash to make illegal campaign contributions.
In return, prosecutors will drop other counts against her. Wang must continue to cooperate with authorities and testify in court if necessary. She faces a maximum punishment of one year in prison and a $100,000 on each of the two counts to which she is pleading, the agreement states.
Also Friday, a federal judge is expected to take up the issue of whether defense attorneys can subpoena Graham to testify at Dong’s trial, which is scheduled to being Monday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
Friday’s proceedings concern allegations that Dong and Wang conspired to make at least $31,000 in donations to Graham and his political action committee.
Graham is not accused of any wrongdoing. Graham’s office and federal prosecutors have maintained that Graham has cooperated with investigators and that he had no knowledge that the donations were suspect at the time they were made.
Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon.
Dong, 55, is expected to go trial at a later date in connection with a separate indictment accusing him of stealing $3.6 million in federal grant money intended for research on vaccines for the deadly Ebola and Marburg viruses. Authorities say he used the money to pay for lobbying and to entertain a mistress in China, among other things.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.