When a federal criminal trial is less than 60 days from jury selection, that’s usually when the pretrial stage heats up. But in the criminal case of United States of America v. Paul Kruse, pretrial, so far, is all cool.

The fact is that neither the prosecutors nor the defense attorneys have had reason to raise any issues in the Western District Court of Texas since Jan. 6.

That’s when federal Judge Robert Pitman signed the amended scheduling order that remains enforced for jury selection and trial, set for Aug. 1 in Austin.

It’s been a long quiet period in the criminal prosecution of the retired president of the Texas icon known as Blue Bell ice cream. Paul Kruse is charged for actions he allegedly took during a 2015 listeriosis outbreak.

In that four-state outbreak, there were three deaths among the 10 patients, all hospitalized. Blue Bell recalled all ice cream products, and all production was suspended.

In less than 60 days, a Texas jury will decide if Kruse is guilty or innocent of conspiracy and fraud charges brought against him by a federal Grand Jury.

Both the prosecution and defense are under a series of orders in Judge Pitman’s schedule to get the parties ready for trial. While there haven’t been any motion hearings or other pretrial sessions, important dates are ticked off. For example:

  • Any pretrial motions related to the potential exclusion of expert testimony that might require a so-called Daubert hearing were due May 26, 2022. (Responses due no later than June 13, 2022.
  • The Department of Justices had to file witness and exhibit lists no later than June 2, 2022
  • DOJ by no later than June 2, 2022, had to provide the defense with so-called impeachment evidence
  • DOJ has until June 2, 2022, to provide the defense with notice of evidence it intends to pursue. — The defense has until June 16, 2022, to object.
  • The defense list of witnesses and exhibits is due no later than June 17, 2022.
  • All pretrial motions, including motions in limine, are due no later than June 22, 2022.

A motion in limine is made away from the jury to include and exclude evidence.

The parties agree that United States v. Kruse is a “complex criminal case.” Jury instructions will be filed on June 17, 2022, with the defense having until July 1, 2022, to object and DOJ has until July 18 to file any response.

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