A defense attorney for former egg producer says Austin "Jack" DeCoster says his client should not go to jail when he is sentenced for his involvement in a 2010 Salmonella outbreak that caused thousands of people to become sick and led to the recall of 550 million eggs.
Attorney Frank Volpe filed a motion arguing that it would be unconstitutional for DeCoster to receive jail or home confinement, adding that the only appropriate sentence is a fine and probation, reported KCCI News.
DeCoster and his son, Peter, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce. They face up to a year in jail and could pay fines of up to $100,000.
The DeCosters' company, Quality Egg, pleaded guilty to bribing a federal inspector, selling misbranded food and introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce.
Federal prosecutors have stated they found no evidence that the DeCosters were aware they were selling tainted products, but as corporate officers, they could be held legally responsible. Volpe argues Jack DeCoster had no criminal intent.
Quality Egg has admitted that former manager Tony Wasmund and another employee bribed a USDA inspector, who is now deceased, on at least two occasions. The bribes were made in hopes of releasing pallets of eggs that had been retained for failing to meet federal standards. The company also admitted that with Wasmund's approval, Quality Egg often put false processing and expiration dates on labels to make eggs appear fresher than they really were.
Wasmund cooperated with prosecutors under a deal and earlier pleaded guilty to a bribery conspiracy.
Sentencing for the DeCosters been scheduled.