A two-month break in post-trial action in the criminal prosecution of former Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) executives ended Thursday with more than 50 pages being filed in support of an acquittal for defendant Mary Wilkerson. Wilkerson, quality control manager for the Blakely, GA, peanut processing plant that was the source of contamination in a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 people and killed nine, was found guilty by a jury last September on one of two counts of obstruction of justice. pcaSign_406x250Her Albany, GA, defense attorney, Thomas G. Ledford, originally moved for his client’s acquittal on both obstruction counts last Sept. 10 when the government completed its case. After the split jury verdict, he followed up with a written motion on Oct. 3. Ledford said he was filing an amended motion because he recently become aware of two federal government policies pertaining to discovery that he believes are relevant to Wilkerson’s defense. His amended arguments build on the so-called “Brady” concerns Ledford has raised since before last summer’s jury trial. Ledford has depicted the Wilkerson defense as being overwhelmed and therefore unable to properly prepare after the government dumped millions of documents on them during the discovery process. He said these documents came “in various detached hard drive and additional CD’s through a year and half up until the last production of 100,000 files of unorganized Discovery on July 1, 2014, as well as production releases in June 2014, all less than 30 days from when the trial date was set to begin July 14, 2014.” The same issue came up right before the trial, which actually did not start until July 28, 2014. Ledford said what the government had assured were “easily accessible” files using a specific software instead became “a laborious and slow process.” A final password-protected package of documents was received by the Wilkerson defense on July 14, and the password was provided three days later. “The Defendant shows that the providing of such a voluminous number of documents without any indexing of same or linking of the documents amounted to providing NO Discovery at all since searching the vast number of documents is akin to hunting for a needle in a haystack,” Ledford writes in the amended motion. He argues that his client was subjected to “trial by ambush” in violation of her due process. He argues that Wilkerson should be granted an acquittal because of an “egregious abuse” of discovery and a Brady violation. (Brady v. Maryland was a 1963 legal case which is relied on for discovery requirements.) Wilkerson is reserving the right to further amend the motion for acquittal when the trial transcript becomes available. Ledford said his client wants to specifically refute and impeach the testimony of Janet Gray, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration official who testified at the trial. The two documents Ledford included with his amended motion are a 2010 memorandum on discovery practices for all U.S. criminal division attorneys and a 2010 discovery policy paper for the Middle District of Georgia. Wilkerson was convicted on the single obstruction of justice count by the same jury that found brothers Stewart and Michael Parnell guilty on a total of 97 federal felony counts involving fraud and conspiracy in their PCA business dealings. More than six months have passed without any of the three defendants being sentenced. Stewart Parnell, 60, who owned the now-bankrupt PCA, and his peanut broker brother, Michael Parnell, 55, have sought a new trial on a variety of grounds, including that some jurors may have done their own research into the 2008-09 outbreak. The Parnell brothers were held overnight after the trial but then released when they secured bonds at increased amounts. Wilkerson has been free to assist in her own defense since the original 76-count indictment was released in February 2013. Two additional former PCA executives, Samuel Lightsey and Daniel Kilgore, pleaded guilty to some of the charges against them in agreements with the government that saw them testify against the others at the trial. They, too, must be sentenced, whenever that occurs. In February, U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands indefinitely postponed appeals of Pre-Sentence Investigative Reports.