One of the three defendants sentenced Monday in the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) criminal case remains free. Mary Wilkerson, who was sentenced to five years of imprisonment after her jury conviction for obstruction of justice, remains free on a $25,000 bond. That’s until she is assigned to a prison facility by the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Probation Office reports her voluntary surrender. U.S. District Judge W. Louis Sands provided her with those instruction in an order signed late Monday. Stewart and Michael Parnell, who were sentenced Monday to 28- and 20-year sentences, respectively, were immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service. Their prison assignments are not yet known. All three defendants have filed motions in the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta asking for release during their appeals. Wilkerson’s court-appointed attorney, Thomas G. Ledford, was the last to share his outline of appeal topics for the trial court. His list of “substantial questions of law and fact” for the Wilkerson appeal includes:
- Consistent Brady Violations – Data Dump – Hiding Exculpatory and Relevant Evidence in more than 8 to 15 million Pages of Documents of Discovery as raised in several Pre Trial and Post Trial Motions;
- Juror Misconduct during Voir Dire, Trial and during deliberations;
- Denial of Transcripts as an Indigent Defendant for the purpose of Post Trial Motions and Proceedings, including, but not limited to preparation for the Evidentiary Hearings and Sentencing, denying the Defendant Due Process;
- Denial of a Motion for New Trial due to Prosecutorial Misconduct and all issues raised in said Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 446) and Brief in Support (Doc. 447) and all supporting Exhibits, Inappropriate Relationship of Prosecutors with Media;
- Leaking of confidential sealed documents and information from the Pre-sentence Investigation Report to the Media;
- Prosecution Misrepresentation of Truth on Existence of Wilkerson’s Transcript as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447;
- Failure to Produce Original “Diary” of Agent Gray due to suspicions of tampering and redactions for official review by forensic document examiner as set out in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447 and Exhibits;
- All Objections to PSR previously raised, including, but not limited to, Paragraph 43;
- Improper Handling of Evidence – numerous documents unlabeled, unretrievable and undocumented, not in load ready format or no Bates Numbers as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447 and Exhibits;
- Prosecution’s public filing of the Response to the Defendant Wilkerson’s PSR as a Notice (Doc. 435) in violation of F.C.R.P. 32 and subsequent posting on the internet by various media as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447 and Exhibits;
- Prosecution’s use of an altered official report of Agent Gray as evidence against Wilkerson with knowledge it was altered by unknown number of persons and entities before final submission as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447 and Exhibits;
- Disparity in Prosecution of ConAgra and Kelloggs for same issues of food borne illnesses and contamination, no persons associated with ConAgra or Kelloggs were indicted, charged or tried as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447 and Exhibits;
- Late Provision of Discovery even after deadline of Discovery and after beginning of Trial as raised in Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 446 and Brief, Doc. 447.
Wilkerson was quality control manager for PCA’s Blakely, GA, processing plant, which was responsible for a deadly Salmonella outbreak in 2008-09. The Parnell brothers have also filed motions for release during appeal, along with outlines of the topics they plan to take up to the Atlanta appeals court. Stewart Parnell was PCA’s chief executive officer, and Michael Parnell, his brother, was a peanut broker.
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