DENVER – After attempting another trial regarding possible price fixing in the poultry market, five executives were found not guilty of the charges.
The jury at US District Court in Denver, Colo., acquitted 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.
A report from Bloomberg, said there was more than a day of deliberations before the not guilty verdict.
The original case from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged that the executives were part of a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chicken products at least as early as 2012 until at least 2019.
A mistrial was called in the original trial in December 2021 after jurors failed to reach a verdict after four days of deliberations. In late March, the DOJ dropped five executives from the case following a second attempt to find a verdict.
In June 2022, US District Judge Philip Brimmer allowed the DOJ to attempt to present its case for a third time on the matter.