Pilgrim’s Pride CEO trial set for February 2021

A trial for Jayson Penn, CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride, has been scheduled for February 16, 2021 at the federal courthouse in Denver, Colorado.

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Jayson Penn, president and CEO of Pilgrim's Pride (Pilgrim's Pride)
Jayson Penn, president and CEO of Pilgrim's Pride (Pilgrim's Pride)

A trial for Jayson Penn, CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride, has been scheduled for February 16, 2021 at the federal courthouse in Denver, Colorado.

Penn and with three other poultry industry executives were indicted on federal antitrust charges in early June. The four have been accused of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens across the United States from as early as 2012 until at least early 2017. Penn entered a plea of not guilty.

According to a report from the Times-Call, U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer approved a joint motion from federal prosecutors and Penn’s legal team to declare the case as complex, and that motion waived Penn’s right to a trial within 180 days.

Pre-trial motions are due by December 28.

Penn was appointed the president and CEO of Pilgrim’s Pride in March 2019. Prior to that, Penn, who has been employed by Pilgrim’s Pride since March 2011, served as president of Pilgrim’s USA. He has since taken a paid leave of absence from the company. Fabio Sandri, chief financial officer of Pilgrim’s Pride, is serving as president and CEO on an interim basis.

Also facing federal antitrust charges are Roger Austin, a former vice president of Pilgrim’s Pride; Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry; and Scott Brady, Claxton Poultry national accounts sales manager.

Fries, Austin and Brady have also all entered pleas of not guilty.

If the suspects are convicted of the alleged crimes, each would face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by victims if either amount is greater than $1 million.

Pilgrim’s Pride, the second largest poultry company in the United States, also has operations in Mexico and Europe. Claxton Poultry, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, ranks 18th among U.S. broiler companies.

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