US moves to dismiss price-fixing case against two former Pilgrim's Pride execs

Charges were laid in 2021 for fixing prices in the poultry industry
calendar icon 17 October 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

The US Justice Department on Sunday moved to dismiss an antitrust indictment against two former Pilgrim's Pride Corp executives who were the remaining defendants in a conspiracy prosecution that has failed to secure any convictions, reported Reuters.

Federal prosecutors asked US District Judge Daniel Domenico to dismiss the case against Jason McGuire, who was a former executive vice president of sales at Pilgrim's Pride, and Timothy Stiller, a former general manager.

They and other defendants were charged in 2021 of fixing prices in the poultry industry.

A Justice Department spokesperson on Sunday declined to comment.

In July, a Colorado jury found three other Pilgrim's Pride executives, and two executives of Claxton Poultry Farms, not guilty. It was the third trial, after two earlier mistrials. The defendants who were acquitted then included former Pilgrims Pride chief executives William Lovett and Jayson Penn.

The government said it was moving to dismiss the case against McGuire and Stiller after Domenico on October 14 "effectively" limited the evidence that jurors would be allowed to hear at an upcoming October 31 trial.

Domenico said in his ruling that the Justice Department "has not met its burden of demonstrating a price-fixing or bid-rigging conspiracy by a preponderance of the evidence." Prosecutors said the order "departs from prior rulings in the district concerning the same conspiracy."

The government asked Domenico to dismiss the indictment against McGuire and Stiller "without prejudice," which would give the US an opportunity to try to bring a new case.

Defense lawyers for McGuire and Stiller did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Domenico in a separate order last week denied a bid from McGuire and Stiller to dismiss the case. Still, the judge said in his order that "the government's evidence in this case has been far from convincing."

Pilgrim's Pride agreed to pay a $110.5 million fine in 2020 after pleading guilty to the Justice Department's price-fixing charges.

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