The Justice Department has dropped charges against five executives of chicken companies for alleged price fixing following a second mistrial in the case in Colorado.
U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer agreed Thursday to dismiss a count of "conspiracy to restrain trade" in response to an unopposed request from DOJ, which plans to continue prosecuting five remaining defendants, including two former CEOs of Pilgrim’s Pride.
Brimmer also declared a mistrial after a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Charges were dismissed against Timothy Mulrenin, who was in sales with Tyson Foods; William Kantola, who was also a sales executive, at Koch Foods; Jimmie Little, a former sales exec at Pilgrim’s Pride; Brian Roberts, formerly of Tyson, and Rickie Blake, who was at George’s Inc.
Looking for the best, most comprehensive and balanced news source in agriculture? Our Agri-Pulse editors don't miss a beat! Sign up for a free month-long subscription.
Brimmer ordered a hearing to be held on Friday, April 8, so Jonathan Kanter, chief of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, can appear to explain the government’s reasons for retrying the remaining defendants.
In a court filing, DOJ said “the government’s case-in-chief going forward will be significantly streamlined, requiring fewer fact witnesses, fewer exhibits, and fewer trial days.”The remaining defendants are: Jayson Penn and William Lovette, both former Pilgrim’s Pride CEOs; Mikell Fries and Scott Brady, president and vice president of Claxton Poultry, respectively; and Roger Austin, a former vice president at Pilgrim’s.
For more news, go towww.Agri-Pulse.com.