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Jury instructions matter in Kruse trial as law applies to facts in Blue Bell case

The jury continues to hear witnesses at the trial of retired Blue Bell President Paul Cruise, while behind-the-scenes work continues with the instructions they will be given before deliberations.

JURY INSTRUCTIONS Continue to provide “additional” instructions to Trial Judge Robert Pittman as defense and prosecution teams continue, a work in progress. When the trial is over, the jury’s instructions are ultimately up to the judge. Federal trial linked to outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infection. The outbreak has killed three people and sickened ten.

Since the trial began last week, defense attorneys Chris Floyd of Houston and John D. Klein of Seattle have filed five “supplementary” jury orders. These include:

Disclosure Obligation —“You may discover a fraudulent scheme before you discover that Mr. Kruse failed to disclose the facts to Blue Bell customers, You must find that Mr. Cruise is obliged to disclose the facts in question to the client more than twice as much as is reasonable. Disclosure obligations may arise from statutes, regulations or fiduciary relationships (i.e. trust and trust relationships). Ordinary business relationships , no more, does not constitute a fiduciary relationship.”

RECALL OBLIGATIONS – “A food manufacturer like Bluebell will not be (such as the Food and Drug Administration) or a state agency (such as the Texas Department of Health Services), otherwise there is no legal responsibility to conduct a recall. At all times between February 13, 2015 and April 20, 2015 , the Food and Drug Administration and the Texas Department of Health Services have the authority to order Blue Bell to recall any ice cream product if they conclude that the product has a reasonable likelihood of incorporating Listeria monocytogenes, and Consumption of this product can cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans.”

Information about Listeria is not property— “About Blue Accurate information on the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes in Bell products does not constitute ‘property’ under the wire fraud statute.”

The right to control economic decisions is not property— — “Blue Bell customers are entitled to information they consider important when deciding whether to purchase Blue Bell ice cream, including information about the possible presence of Listeria monocytogenes in Blue Bell products, not Constitutes “property” under the wire fraud statute.”

BENEFITS OF TRANSACTIONS – “Blue Bell customers benefit from their transactions – Listeria-free and consumer-friendly ice cream, even if they didn’t provide all the information they thought was important to their purchasing decision when they bought the ice cream, even though they wouldn’t have bought Blue Bell ice cream if they knew it.”

Seasoned trial attorney says jury instruction is “about applying these facts to the law.”

Prosecution’s Tara M. Shinnick responds to defense’s Supplement the list, asking Judge Pittman to do so: “The Administration respectfully requests permission for the remainder of the trial to amend this order or make additional orders that may be required.”

As of today, the West Texas Kruse’s sixth day of testimony is being heard in the S District of Austin federal court. The jury guidance expert said defendants are entitled to guidance relating specific facts to any legal issue upon request. If the defense’s supplemental requirements for jury instructions seem a little specific, that’s how it works.

Cruise retires in 2017 for rescuing the century-old Brenham, Texas Creamery as president of Blue Bell, which suffered a listeriosis outbreak two years earlier And completely closed. His trial was on one count of conspiracy and five counts of email fraud.

His defense attorneys earlier filed a proposed jury order regarding Blue Bell’s health history prior to February 13, 2015. The defense’s position was that the health information had a “very limited purpose” at the trial.

As a corporate entity, Blue Bell pleaded guilty in a related case in 2020 to two counts of distributing adulterated food, in violation of federal regulations, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.

COMPANY AGREES TO PAY TOTAL CRIMINAL PENALTIES OF $17.5 MILLION AND $2.1 MILLION TO RESOLVE False Claims Act Charges Regarding Ice Cream Products In Unsanitary Conditions Manufactured and sold to federal agencies, including the military.

$19.35 million in fines, forfeitures and civil settlements is the second largest amount ever to address food safety issues.

Cruise is the only one facing related Criminally charged individuals broke out by 2015. Founded in Brenham, Texas in 1907, Blue Bell Creameries today produces Blue Bell ice cream, an iconic Texas brand.

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