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Chicken Execs Shoot Back At New Attempt At Price-Fixing Trial

 |  May 10, 2022

Defense lawyers for five former and current chicken industry executives on Monday mounted new legal challenges against prosecutors who want another shot at a criminal price-fixing prosecution after two earlier juries were deadlocked.

Attorneys for the former Pilgrim’s Pride Corp chief executives Jayson Penn and William Lovette, among the defendants, said in new filings that the third trial set for June should not be a “fresh opportunity” for the government “to fill gaps it belatedly believes prevented conviction twice” in recent months.

The executives’ lawyers called the “third bite” prosecution unlawful in seeking dismissal of charges. The lawyers also urged the court to block the government from adding any new pieces of evidence.

“Such endless opportunity for revision is fundamentally unfair to defendants. The government has already had more than enough time to investigate this case and assemble evidence; fairness demands a limit,” the defense lawyers argued in new filings.

A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately comment on Tuesday. The third trial is scheduled to start in Denver federal court on June 6 before U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer.

Lawyers for Penn and Lovette, who have pleaded not guilty, did not immediately return messages seeking comment on Tuesday.

Us Senator Elizabeth Warren called on the Justice Department to open an investigation into the impact of price- fixing and consolidation in the poultry sector in November of last year. The industry has a long track record of being called out on collusion schemes.

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