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Poultry executives found not guilty of price-fixing

After three separate trials, five executives of Pilgrim’s Pride and Claxton Poultry accused of price-fixing have been acquitted.

The Department of Justice accused Jayson Penn, Mikell Fries, Scott Brady, Roger Austin, and William Lovette of conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for broiler chicken products between August of 2011 and early 2019. 

The first two trials ended in a mistrial and the jury found the poultry executives not guilty in the third trial, which ended Thursday before Chief District Judge Philip Brimmer in Denver.  The Justice Department called the acquittals “disappointing.”

Attorney Michael Tubach was part of the defense team for former Pilgrim’s Pride CEO Jayson Penn. In a statement after the third trial, Tubach said, “The DOJ never should have brought these charges. We are proud to have zealously defended Jayson Penn. And while this result is a long time coming, we are thrilled with the outcome of this unprecedented and unnecessary third trial.”

Pilgrim’s Pride had previously pled guilty and was fined nearly 108 million dollars in 2021 for fixing prices and rigging bids.

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