Late Thursday afternoon, Malcolm Segal and Tom Johnson were in their respective law offices on Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento preparing for a Friday hearing in federal court for Juan Tang, a Chinese cancer researcher who was due to face trial starting Monday.
Suddenly, they saw a filing from federal prosecutors come online, one that was asking U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to dismiss the case the government had been pursuing for a year.
“Malcolm and I were both online when the motion came for dismissal, and I came running into his office and we’re both kind of screaming, like, ‘What just happened?’
“And then we went immediately to see her in her (hotel) room.”
Tang had no idea what was coming. She had been in custody for a year, first inside the Sacramento County Main Jail during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, then at a Bay Area lawyer’s home outfitted with a GPS ankle bracelet to ensure she did not leave the house.