Stewart Parnell, the former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, is maneuvering to stay out of prison on appeal even as his sentencing hearing starts today in what could be a watershed case for food safety.
Last year, jurors found Parnell guilty on dozen of counts, including fraud and conspiracy tied to a salmonella outbreak that had Americans dumping peanut products from their homes in 2009. Nine people died and more than 700 fell ill after eating products tied to Parnell’s company. Jurors concluded he intentionally shipped out tainted peanut products from one of his plants in South Georgia.
On Monday, the day his sentencing hearing was slated to start in south Georgia, Parnell’s attorney’s filed a motion seeking his release on bond from custody pending an appeal he plans to file. They argue Parnell isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the community and that the appeal is not being made solely for the purpose of delay.
To find out why Parnell’s attorney says he shouldn’t get hard time and what usually happens in white collar cases, check out the AJC’s Unofficial Business column on myAJC.com.