Defense says emails prove outside pressure in Salmonella trial
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
Defense lawyers say emails show an FDA investigator was pressured by politicians and officials in Washington during her investigation of Peanut Corporation of America.
Janet Gray investigated the deadly salmonella outbreak traced to the PCA plant in Blakely. Defense lawyers got their chance to question Gray after prosecutors took more than 10 hours.
Tom Bondurant, representing PCA owner Stewart Parnell, brought up numerous emails trying to prove gray was pressured to go after the defendants.
Gray's initial report stated that former plant manager Sammy Lightsey, who has pleaded guilty, was responsible for the day to day activities at PCA. One email shows her supervisor asked her to include Parnell as a responsible party.
In another email, Gray wrote she would add the report for her bosses "if they covered her when the bullets start flying."
Plant quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson was visibly emotional as her lawyer questioned Gray. Tom Ledford attempted to show that Wilkerson helped during the investigation and didn't obstruct.
Bob Nelligan, another FDA investigator, took the stand this afternoon and will continue in the morning. Sammy Lightsey's family remained in court assuming his testimony could come next.