CLAXTON, Ga. (WSAV) – Mikell Fries, president of Claxton Poultry Farms, entered a not guilty plea Monday afternoon in the U.S. District Court in Denver, Colorado.
A one-count indictment from the Department of Justice alleges that Fries, along with other senior executives and others, conspired to fix prices and rig bids for broiler chickens, which are primarily sold to grocers and restaurants.
Fries joined others in pleading not guilty, including Claxton Poultry National Accounts Sales Manager Scott Brady, Colorado-based Pilgrim’s Pride President and CEO Jayson Penn, and former Pilgrim’s Pride Vice President Roger Austin.
Claxton Poultry issued the following statement last week:
“The allegations attributed to our company are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend our company and its good name as this process moves forward. We will not comment further on the allegations other than to say that since our small start in 1949, we have adhered to the highest standards of food quality, professionalism, integrity and good faith in all our operations.“