Defense: Plant owner scapegoat in salmonella case

Peanut Corporation of AmericaALBANY, Ga. (AP) _ A defense attorney says the owner of a Georgia peanut plant linked to a deadly salmonella outbreak five years ago was charged with federal crimes as a “scapegoat.”   Attorney Tom Bondurant said during closing arguments Friday that authorities didn’t want to prosecute large food companies, and that subordinate managers weren’t prominent enough to take all the blame. Bondurant acknowledged former Peanut Corporation of America owner Stewart Parnell’s plant shipped tainted food and faked salmonella tests. But he blamed those acts on two former plant managers who pleaded guilty in the case. He said Parnell would never have knowingly sold salmonella-tainted peanuts and peanut butter because it would ruin his business.  The outbreak was blamed for killing nine Americans and sickening 714.

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