In 5-week salmonella trial, defense takes 1 hour

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — Attorneys for three people charged in deadly salmonella outbreak linked to a Georgia peanut plant have rested their cases in a single day after more than five weeks of prosecution testimony.

The defense portion of the federal trial that began Aug. 1 in Albany took barely an hour Wednesday. Closing arguments were scheduled Thursday.

Attorneys for former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell and for Mary Wilkerson, the quality assurance manager of his Georgia plant, presented no defense. The lawyer for Parnell's brother, Michael Parnell, called just two brief witnesses.

The Parnell brothers are charged with shipping contaminated peanuts and covering up positive salmonella tests. Wilkerson is charged with obstructing justice. Nine Americans died and 714 got sick in the outbreak five years ago.