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Pilgrim’s Pride Execs Escape Antitrust Suit

 |  October 18, 2022

On Monday a US judge dismissed federal charges against two former Pilgrim’s Pride executives who were among other chicken industry leaders charged last year in a sweeping price-fixing prosecution, reported Reuters. 

US District Judge Daniel Domenico at the DOJ’s request dismissed the indictment against Jason McGuire, who was a former executive vice president of sales at Pilgrim’s Pride, and Timothy Stiller, a former general manager.

Domenico granted prosecutors’ request to dismiss the action without prejudice, which leaves open a chance for the government to try to bring a new case later on. Prosecutors on Sunday moved to dismiss the closely watched case after Domenico last week limited the evidence the government could rely on at the upcoming trial on Oct. 31.

Read more: Pilgrims Pride To Pay New Antitrust Fine To Chicken Buyers

The court’s order marked the latest setback for Justice Department antitrust enforcers in the case, after a Colorado jury in July acquitted two former Pilgrim’s Pride chief executive officers and others. The proceeding was the third trial, after two earlier mistrials.

McGuire’s lawyers at Davis Polk & Wardwell said in a statement that their client was “grateful that this matter is concluded and he looks forward to moving on with his life.”

A lawyer for Stiller, Kristen Frost of Ridley, McGreevy & Winocur, called the outcome a “just and wonderful result.”

McGuire and Stiller were charged with eight others in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices in the chicken industry. In 2020, Pilgrim’s Pride agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine after pleading guilty to the Justice Department’s price-fixing charges.

Pilgrim’s in October agreed to pay a US$110.5 million fine in a plea deal with the US Department of Justice on the price-fixing allegations, which ensnared two former chief executives. Poultry buyers including Chick-fil-A and Target have sued top US chicken producers for fixing meat prices for years.