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Peanut Corp. Executives Plead Innocent

Four of the Peanut Corporation of America executives indicted with federal criminal charges last week have pleaded innocent to the 76-count charges that include fraud, conspiracy, and the introduction of adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead, the Associated Press reports.

PCA CEO and President Stewart Parnell, PCA food broker Michael Parnell, plant manager Samuel Lightsey, and plant quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson filed their pleadings at a Georgia federal court on Thursday. A fifth defendant, plant manager Daniel Kilgore, has already pleaded guilty.

Bail is set at $100,000 for each of the Parnell brothers, $50,000 for Lightsey and $25,000 for Wilkerson.

Stewart Parnell faces a maximum 754 years in prison and $17 million in fines if convicted, the AP stated. Michael Parnell faces a maximum 437 years and $10 million.

More than 700 people were sickened and nine died as a result of the 2009 Salmonella outbreak caused by PCA peanut products.

© Food Safety News
  • Eric Powell

    I heard Jerry Sandusky is proud of the Parnells for pleading innocent.

  • Candrew10

    At one point we were very supportive of the Chinese penalty of death for this murderer.  After realizing S. Parnell could get as much as 754 years in prison we decided we like that result better.  We’ve heard that peanut butter sandwhiches are a staple of prison food.