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Tyson Foods Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 29) -- Arkansas based Tyson Foods Inc. agreed to pay $6 million in fines and court costs today after pleading guilty to federal charges of providing illegal gifts to former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.

The poultry company was accused of giving Espy and others $12,000 in football tickets, presidential inaugural ball tickets, lodgings and other gifts.

Espy was indicted in August for taking gifts from Tyson and other agricultural firms. He maintains there was no wrongdoing. Tyson's gifts started an internal investigation at the Agricultural Department and lead to the subsequent investigation by independent counsel Donald Smaltz.

Tyson's agreement must have the approval of U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina. Urbina scheduled sentencing for Jan. 14. Don Tyson, senior chairman of the Arkansas company, appeared for the company in court today.

No executives were charged in the criminal investigation brought by Smaltz. Tyson and his son John, vice chairman of Tyson Foods, were granted immunity in exchange for their testimony before the grand jury.

Archie Schaffer, the company's senior spokesman, has also been under investigation by Smaltz. Jack Williams, the firm's Washington lobbyist, was indicted and will go to trial Feb. 2.

The company must set up ethics training and take other steps against future wrongdoing as part of the plea bargain.

In Other News:

Monday Dec. 29, 1997

Gore Gears Up In 1998
Tyson Foods Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges
Clinton Stands By Aide Ira Magaziner
Houston Mayor Tops Short List For Ambassador To Mexico
White House: No Envoy To Iran

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