Since January, there’s been nothing new about the coming Aug. 1 jury trial of retired Blue Bell president Paul Kruse. The Department of Justice (DOJ) now is making a little news with the appointment of Tara M. Shinnick to the government’s prosecution team for the trial.
Gustav W. Eyler, director of DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, appointed Shinnick to help handle the trial. She is a graduate of the University of California Berkley Law School. She will assist DOJ trial attorney Matthew J. Lash.
Defense attorneys Chris Flood of Houston and John D. Cline of Seattle have also made some minor changes in the scheduling order, which Lash has also endorsed.
The defense and prosecution attorneys have prepared a scheduling order amendment for Judge Robert Pittman to sign that changes some pretrial dates.
The previous deadline for naming experts’ pursuit to so-called Daubert motions was May 26, 2022, but that deadline was extended to June 13, 2022.
The government’s deadline for providing materials to the defense was extended to June 2, 2022, or when such information becomes available.
And June 16, 2022, is the new deadline for the government to provide the defense with evidence it intends to present at trial. That deadline was originally June 2, 2022.
The government’s deadline for providing its witness list to the defense is “no later than June 17, 2022.
All pretrial motions, except those involving motions in limine, must be filed by no later than June 22, 2022. Responses must adhere to the Court’s local rules.
The defense must provide its witness list to the government by July 1.
The government’s proposed jury instructions are due no later than June 17, 2022. The defense has until July 1 to object to the proposed jury instructions, and the government has until July 18 to respond.
While there’s been little on the record since January, the joint motion amending the scheduling order is evidence that both sets of attorneys are on track for jury selection on Aug. 1.
Kruse, 67, is accused of one count of conspiracy and six counts of fraud for actions he took during the 2015 listeriosis outbreak when he was president of Blue Bell Creameries.
Kruse issued the first recall in the company’s century-long history and suspended all production for several weeks. In the four-state outbreak, there were three deaths among ten illnesses. All ten were hospitalized.
A federal Grand Jury indicted Kruse in 2020 after a five-year investigation.
The federal Western District Court for Texas calls the United States v. Kruse “a complex criminal case.” The court is based in Austin,
As a corporate entity, Blue Bell pleaded guilty in a related case in 2020 to two counts of distributing adulterated food products in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The company agreed to pay criminal penalties totaling $17.5 million and $2,1 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations regarding ice cream products manufactured under unsanitary conditions and sold to federal facilities, including the military. The total $19.35 million in fines, forfeiture, and civil settlement payments was the second-largest amount ever paid in the resolution of a food safety matter.
Kruse is the only individual facing criminal charges as a result of the 2015 outbreak.
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