While other pre-trial issues will be heard today by U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands in Albany, GA, Stewart Parnell’s attorneys won’t agree to the hearing on the “potentially privileged documents” which the government wants to collect from former Peanut Corporation of American attorneys before the start of the scheduled July 14 jury trial. For the first time, Parnell’s attorneys also disclosed the existence of a “joint defense agreement” that is “in place” and “affects what may or may not be disclosed.” The joint defense agreement binds the three defendants, all former PCA executives, to “a privilege review”of comments. Because of the potential for attorney-client privilege and work-product exclusions, prosecutors have suggested that a so-called “taint team” from the U.S. Department of Justice review documents from the former corporate attorneys before any are cleared and turned over to the government. Parnell’s response motion indicates that the defense attorneys want to conduct their own review after the taint team’s work is completed. “Nevertheless, what is clear at this stage is that a written joint defense agreement is in place that governs and informs the parties, including PCA and its former counsel, regarding what power individual members of the agreement possess to waive any privileges,” Parnell’s attorneys say. They want the court to prohibit the government from accessing the material because they say prosecutors have “manufactured a time constraint” so close to the trial. The trial of Parnell, his brother Michael Parnell, and PCA’s former quality control manager, Mary Wilkerson, stems from a February 2013 indictment charging them with a total of 76 federal felony counts, including fraud and conspiracy, along with violations of federal food laws. The charges followed from the 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak traced back to PCA’s peanut processing plant in Blakely, GA. That outbreak sickened 700 and killed nine.