UPDATE– Judge W. Louis Sands has cancelled tomorrow’s previously scheduled Daubert hearing for Dr. Ian Williams. He did so after Thomas J. Bondurant, Jr., Stewart Parnell’s lead defense attorney asked to be excused from the hearing. In an Order, Sands continued the hearing until further notice, adding “the matter is not as urgent as once represented…” On Wednesday, U.S. Judge W. Louis Sands cleared to testify seven of eight expert government witnesses challenged by defense attorneys for Stewart Parnell. Dr. Ian Williams, chief of the Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was not among them. Instead, Williams will be subjected to a “Daubert” hearing on Friday to determine whether he will be eligible to testify as an expert witness for the government in the criminal trial of Parnell and two other former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives. In his order, Sands said he was allowing the defense to challenge the fitness of Williams to offer expert testimony because “of the late disclosure.” If the government had added Williams’ name to its expert witness list earlier, it’s unlikely there would be a need for a “Daubert” hearing to consider his status at the trial, now scheduled to start July 28. Williams heads the CDC unit that helps coordinate the national network of epidemiologists and other public health officials who investigate outbreaks of foodborne, waterborne, and other enteric illnesses in the U.S. He is a graduate of CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Program and has a Ph.D. in Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and a M.S. in Preventive Medicine from the Ohio State University. Williams has worked at CDC since 1994 and been involved in numerous multistate outbreak investigations leading to the identification and recall of food products. Beginning at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the C.B. King United States Courthouse in Albany, GA, the “Daubert” hearing will be held to determine whether Williams has sufficient scientific and technical testimony and evidence to qualify as an expert witness in the trial. The only previous such hearing held during the PCA criminal litigation was over the status of Dr. Joseph Conley, Jr., Parnell’s Virginia neuropsychologist. That hearing took seven hours. Conley believes that Parnell suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, Sands decided such testimony was inadmissible because it “lacks a link with the allegations in this case.” The Friday hearing is the second penalty government attorneys have paid for tardy delivery of certain trial information to the defense, including about 100,000 documents. The first was Sands’ decision to delay the start of the trial by two weeks to give defense attorneys more time to examine the late-arriving information. Sands has ordered the lead counsel for both the government and Parnell’s defense team to be present in his court on Friday. It’s unclear whether Williams is required to be there in person. The judge is not requiring a “Daubert” hearing for a second government expert witness only recently identified, but who is a substitute. That witness is Tracey M. Buchholz, corporate director of quality for Deibel Laboratories Group. He’ll likely be called in lieu of company president Charles Deibel, who has health problems. As for the others the defense challenged, Sands says his court’s 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. trial schedule is designed to leave room for challenges to experts and other witnesses, which can be made the day before they are called to testify. Parnell, his peanut broker brother Michael Parnell, and former PCA quality control manager Mary Wilkerson are charged with federal felonies stemming from the now-defunct company’s role in the 2008-09 Salmonella outbreak that sickened 700 people and killed nine. When the trial does get underway, it is expected to take eight weeks. The February 2013 indictment charged 76 felony counts, including fraud and conspiracy, in addition to placing misbranded and adulterated food into interstate commerce. Two other former PCA executives have entered into plea bargains with the government, pleading guilty in exchange for consideration at sentencing when the trial concludes.