Blue Bell criminal trial ends in mistrial

Blue Bell criminal trial ends in mistrial

BULLETIN — The United States v. Paul Kruse trial in Austin, Texas ended Monday in a mistrial.

The jury apparently split 10-to-2 with the majority wanting to acquit the 67-year-old retired president of Blue Bell Creameries, based in Brenham, Texas. He was tried on federal felony counts of conspiracy and fraud related to a 2015 listeriosis outbreak that shut down Blue Bell’s ice cream production in three states and caused the recall of all its products.

The trial ended in a mistrial Monday. It began on Aug. 1 with jury selection in Austin’s Western District Court. Kruse did not move fast enough for government prosecutors who said he was slow to share information with Blue Bell Customers and the public after he found out about the Listeria infections. A majority of the jury, however, seems to agree with the notion that Kruse did the best he could with the information he had during the crisis.

In his order declaring a mistrial, Judge Robert Pitman said: “In the afternoon of Tuesday, August 9, 2022, the above-referenced case was submitted to the jury for deliberation. On the afternoon of August 15, 2022, after deliberating for four days, the jury advised the Court that they were hopelessly deadlocked and, after a discussion with the parties, the Court excused the jurors.

“The court, therefore, DECLARES a mistrial in this case.

“Having reviewed the Speedy Trial Act, the Court will set this case for a scheduling conference by separate order to select a date for jury selection and trial.”

Government prosecutors have not said if they will pursue another trial.

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