Criminal defendants Stewart and Michael Parnell want separate trials for the federal felony counts they are charged with regarding their time running the Peanut Corporation of America. With two other defendants,  the Parnells face a total indictment of 76 counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice and introducing misbranded and adulterated food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud. In a joint motion for severance, the brothers are asking Judge W. Louis Sands to sever the jury trial because their defenses in the case “are antagonistic and mutually exclusive.” Stewart and Michael Parnell, along with Samuel Lightsey and Mary Wilkerson, are scheduled to go to a single jury trial for the charges stemming from one of the most deadly and costly foodborne illnesses outbreaks in U.S. history. The Parnells’ severance motion is the latest in a string of pre-trial actions that must be sorted through by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia before any trial can begin. In it, attorneys for the two brothers acknowledge that normally persons who are jointly indicted are tried together, but they note under federal rules for criminal procedure severance of co-defendants at trial is mandated if the defenses are “antagonistic and mutually exclusive.” “If the jury, in order to believe the core of the testimony offered on behalf of that defendant, must necessarily disbelieve the testimony offered on behalf of his co-defendant, severance is compelled, “ the attorneys wrote. “In that situation, the co-defendants ‘become the government’s best witnesses against each other.’” PCA produced peanut butter and peanut paste that was responsible for the 2008-09 Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that killed 9 and sickened 700 in a nationwide event. It also led to one of the most costly recalls in history involving almost 4,000 products containing the contaminated peanut butter or paste. Through their attorneys, the Parnell brothers say they cannot get a fair trial unless the cases are severed. Rather than submit affidavits to support their motion, the brothers have asked Judge Sands to hold an in camera ex parte hearing on the issue. At that closed hearing, they say they will be prepared to provide affidavits delineating their prospective testimonies and the reasons why separate trials are mandated. Stewart Parnell, the former chief executive officer of the now-defunct Lynchburg, VA-based peanut processing company, is represented by Roanoke attorney Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr., while attorney Edward D. Tolley in Athens, GA represents Michael Parnell, who was vice president and peanut broker for PCA. Earlier, Sands scheduled a jury trial for all four defendants to begin Oct. 7 at the federal courthouse in Albany. The other two defendants, Lightsey and Wilkerson, were managers at the PCA peanut processing plant in Blakely, GA. Wilkerson, who is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, has moved to suppress “any and all” discovery produced by the government in the case because she does not have the means to determine what the relevant evidence is among nearly 3 million documents produced by the federal prosecutors after a four-year investigation. The former quality assurance manager at the Blakely plant claims she is being denied access to evidence by the “unorganized and unspecified” documents. Albany attorney Thomas G. Ledford represents Wilkerson. An earlier “Jencks motion” for discovery and inspection and another to force the government to reveal any deals it has with potential witnesses, originally filed for Wilkerson, have since been joined by Stewart Parnell and Lightsey