DENVER – The trial of 10 poultry industry executives ended in a second mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The first trial ended in December 2021.
The US Department of Justice accused the defendants of bid rigging and fixing prices for broiler chicken products.
Defendants in the trial include Jayson Penn, former chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.; Bill Lovette, former president and CEO of Pilgrim’s, who was succeeded by Penn; Roger Austin, Pilgrim’s; Mikell Fries, and Scott Brady, both employed at Claxton Poultry; Timothy R. Mulrenin, of Perdue Farms and a former sales executive at Tyson Foods Inc.; William Kantola, Koch Foods Inc.; Jimmie Lee Little, former sales director at Pilgrim’s; Gary Roberts, vice president of sales and marketing at Case Farms; and Rickie Blake, a director and manager at George’s Inc.
The government intended to issue instructions for a partial verdict, according to a court filing by the prosecution.
“If the jury sends another note about an impasse, and if the Court does not provide further elaboration on that instruction, the jurors may think they are not permitted to reveal that they have 12 votes to acquit or to convict some defendants but fewer than 12 votes as to other defendants,” the document said. “A partial verdict instruction would alleviate any such concerns by informing the jury that an impasse is not an all-or-nothing situation.”
US District Judge Philip Brimmer ended the trial after jury deliberations had lasted four days. The government intends to retry the 10 defendants.