DENVER – The antitrust case in opposition to 10 former poultry trade executives ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to achieve a verdict after 4 days of deliberations. Lawyers for the US Department of Justice (DOJ) determined to retry the defendants, and a jury trial was set for Feb. 22, 2022.
In a observe to US District Judge Philip Brimmer, jurors stated “…we cannot reach consensus on the defendants. Furthermore, we cannot reach consensus on whether there was an overarching conspiracy. After multiple votes, we cannot reach unanimity on a single defendant.”
Defendants in the trial embody Jayson Penn, former chief government officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.; Bill Lovette, former president and CEO of Pilgrim’s, who was succeeded by Mr. Penn; Roger Austin, Pilgrim’s; Mikell Fries, and Scott Brady, each employed at Claxton Poultry; Timothy R. Mulrenin, of Perdue Farms and a former gross sales government at Tyson Foods Inc.; William Kantola, Koch Foods Inc.; Jimmie Lee Little, former gross sales director at Pilgrim’s; Gary Roberts, vice chairman of gross sales and advertising at Case Farms; and Rickie Blake, a director and supervisor at George’s Inc.
A Colorado grand jury indicted the executives in 2020 and the trial started in October. The DOJ accused the lads of participating “…in a continuing combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids and fixing prices and other price-related terms for broiler chicken products sold in the United States.”
The DOJ stated the conspiracy consisted of a seamless settlement to “…rig bids and to fix, maintain, stabilize, and raise prices and other price-related terms for broiler chicken products sold in the United States.”
The offense carries a statutory most penalty of 10 years in jail and a $1 million positive.