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U.S. to Retry Case Alleging Collusion on Chicken Pricing in February


Following the late 2021 mistrial of poultry executives previously affiliated with Pilgrim's Pride, Claxton Poultry and Tyson Foods, the Department of Justice has elected to retry the Defendants beginning February 22nd 2022. The Court has rejected legal claims by the defendants that a re-trial is unwarranted.


The Defendant's attorneys  requested a delay in the case. They contended that, "a modest modification of the retrial date from February 22nd to March 22nd 2022, with a maximum exclusion of 27 days would ensure continuity of counsel, protect the integrity of the jury pool and better safeguard all interested persons from COVID 19 exposure".


The Government urged the Court to deny the motion to delay the trial to March 22nd. The U.S. Department of Justice submitted, "public interest in retrying this high-profile case as soon as possible is manifest and is not outweighed by the Defendant's interest in continuity of counsel or in being able to prepare adequately due to the case’s complexity". 


In the event Chief Judge Philip A. Brimmer denied the request for a delay stating in his opinion “The Court finds that the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to find that the charged conspiracy existed and that each defendant knowingly joined the conspiracy, knowing of its goal and intending to help accomplish it.” 


Defendants include William (Bill) Lovette and Jayson Penn, successively CEOs of Pilgrim's Pride and Mikell Fries, President of Claxton Poultry and Scott Brady, Vice President of the company.