With less than two weeks to go until sentencing, Stewart Parnell has joined Mary Wilkerson in asking to have the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) criminal case dismissed. Dismissal and new trial motions have all been denied since the jury verdicts were issued nearly a year ago. Meanwhile, U.S. District Court Judge W. Louis Sands ordered government prosectors to respond by today to Wilkerson’s most recent original dismissal motion and supporting brief. It is that motion and brief that Parnell “moves to adopt and incorporate by reference … to the extent that that the motion applies to Stewart Parnell … .” “Defendant Stewart Parnell adds that the questions as to certain evidence introduced by the government through its witness, Janet Gray, are particularly troubling given that Janet Gray admitted at trial that supervisors at the FDA requested she add Stewart Parnell to reports as ‘the most responsible person’ at the Blakely plant,” defense attorneys wrote. Their motion quotes from the transcript of the jury trial in two areas. The first is where Gray, the FDA investigator, said she agreed to put stronger language in her report implicating Stewart Parnell so long as it could be support by the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Another is where Daniel Kilgore, the former operations manager at PCA’s Blakely, GA, plant, did not know that pictures depicting water in the plant were taken in 2003, not in 2007-2008 when rainwater was referenced in emails. Wilkerson was quality control manager for PCA’s Blakely plant. The jury convicted her on one of two counts of obstruction of justice stemming from the federal government’s investigation of the deadly Salmonella outbreak associated with PCA peanut butter and peanut paste in late 2008 and early 2009. Parnell was chief executive officer of the now-defunct PCA. The jury convicted him on 67 federal felony counts involving conspiracy and fraud. His peanut broker brother, Michael Parnell, was convicted on 30 counts. All three are to be sentenced Sept. 21 by Judge Sands in federal court in Albany, GA. The two PCA executives who entered into plea agreements with the government, Kilgore and Samuel Lightsey, are to be sentenced Oct. 1. Lightsey was manager of the Blakely plant.
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