According to a filing written by prosecutor Leslie Wulff of the Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked a California judge to delay a grocery wholesaler’s lawsuit against former Bumble Bee Foods CEO Chris Lischewski over concerns that it could complicate the criminal case against him.
Lischewski was indicted on criminal price-fixing charges in May 2018 and subsequently stepped down from his position in the company to focus on his defense. He is also the defendant in a civil lawsuit from Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) that claims the company was harmed by the tuna canner’s price-fixing.
Wulff wrote in a filing that allowing the AWG lawsuit to proceed, which could involve depositions of witnesses including Lischewski, could potentially interfere with the prosecution and run the risk of violating the former CEO’s fifth amendment right prohibiting self-incrimination.
“The government’s proposed stay balances the government’s interest in protecting the integrity of the criminal proceedings, Mr. Lischewski’s fifth amendment rights, and the victims’ interest in conducting discovery and seeking restitution for the price-fixing scheme,” Wulff wrote.
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