Federal Judge W. Louis Sands will hear testimony today in his Albany, GA, courtroom on whether an expert witness should be allowed to testify later this summer that Stewart Parnell suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Parnell, former chief executive officer of the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America, is scheduled to be tried with three other defendants on 76 federal felony counts stemming from a deadly outbreak traced back to the PCA’s peanut processing plant in Blakely, GA. Charges of fraud and conspiracy are at the heart of the federal case, which has already been officially deemed as “complex.” A potential ADHD defense by Stewart Parnell could shift more blame to other defendants with arguments that he could not keep track, let alone direct, all the complexities of the fraud and conspiracy involved. At issue today is the role of Dr. Joseph C. Conley, Jr. He is the psychologist who claims that personality assessments performed on Stewart Parnell show the former peanut executive has a “severe ADHD condition.” Officially, a federal evidentiary hearing to determine if an expert witness should be allowed to testify is called a “Daubert” hearing. Prior to today’s hearing, lawyer E. Scott Austin of Roanoke, VA-based Gentry, Locke, Rakes, & Moore filed a supplemental report from Conley about Stewart’s ADHD condition. In the supplemental report, Conley said Parnell is “very comfortable with self disclosure” and showed “no indication of psychopathic deviancy, such as antisocial/sociopathic tendencies.” Michael Parnell, Stewart’s brother, asked Sands for permission to skip today’s hearing, as did lawyers for the other defendants. Attorneys for the government, including the U.S. District Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia and the U.S. Department of Justice, are expected to present their own experts today on Parnell’s mental state. Those with ADHD conditions are generally seen as falling into one of three groups: inattentiveness (lack of attention), hyperactivity, and impulsivity (impulsive behavior). Some suffer from combinations of the three. In addition to Michael Parnell, PCA’s vice president and the company’s peanut broker, the two other defendants in the criminal case are Samuel Lightsey, who managed the Blakely plant, and Mary Wilkerson, the quality control manager. The four defendants are all out on bail while they await trial and assist in their own defense. They were charged after a FBI investigation into the 2008-2009 Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak that sickened more than 700 people nationwide and was blamed for nine deaths. The illnesses were linked to peanut butter and peanut paste manufactured by PCA, which had processing plants in Blakely, GA, and Plainview, TX. Numerous indications that the company was shipping products known to be contaminated spurred the unprecedented (for food safety) four-year criminal investigation into PCA activities. The company was forced into bankruptcy liquidation, and its butters and pastes were so widely used that the outbreak resulted in the largest number of multi-product recalls for a single ingredient in history and cost downstream companies millions of dollars.