Since January, there has been nothing new about the August 1 jury trial of retired Blue Bell chairman Paul Kruse. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now breaking news with the appointment of Tara M. Shinnick to the government prosecution team for the trial.
Gustav W. Eyler, director of the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, appointed Shinnick to help handle the lawsuit. She graduated from the University of California at Berkley School of Law. She will assist Justice Department prosecutor Matthew J. Lash.
Defense attorneys Chris Flood of Houston and John D. Cline of Seattle also made some minor changes to the scheduling order, which Lash also approved.
Defense and prosecution attorneys prepared an amendment to the scheduling order for Judge Robert Pittman to sign, which changes some pre-trial dates.
The previous deadline for naming the prosecution of experts to the so-called Daubert motions was May 26, 2022, but that deadline has been extended to June 13, 2022.
The government’s deadline for providing documents to the defense has been extended to June 2, 2022, or when such information becomes available.
And June 16, 2022 is the new deadline for the government to provide the defense with the evidence it intends to present at trial. This deadline was originally June 2, 2022.
The government’s deadline for providing its witness list to the defense is “no later than June 17, 2022.
All pre-trial motions, except those involving in limine motions, must be filed no later than June 22, 2022. Responses must follow local court rules.
The defense must provide its witness list to the government by July 1.
The government’s proposed jury instructions are due by June 17, 2022. The defense has until July 1 to object to the proposed jury instructions, and the government has until July 18 to respond.
While there has been little on the record since January, the joint motion to change the scheduling order is proof that both sets of lawyers are on track for jury selection on August 1.
Kruse, 67, is charged with one count of conspiracy and six counts of fraud for actions he took during the 2015 listeriosis outbreak when he was chairman of Blue Bell Creameries.
Kruse issued the first recall in the company’s century-old history and suspended all production for several weeks. In the four-state outbreak, there have been three deaths among ten illnesses. All ten were hospitalized.
A federal grand jury indicted Kruse in 2020 after a five-year investigation.
Federal Court for the Western District of Texas calls the United States v. Kruse case a “complex criminal case.” The court is based in Austin,
As a corporation, Blue Bell pleaded guilty in a related case in 2020 to two counts of distributing adulterated food products in violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The company has agreed to pay criminal penalties totaling $17.5 million and $2.1 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations regarding ice cream products produced under unsanitary conditions and sold to federal facilities, including the army. The total of $19.35 million in fines, forfeitures and civil settlements was the second highest amount ever paid in connection with the resolution of a food safety issue.
Kruse is the only person to face criminal charges following the 2015 outbreak.
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