Charges Dismissed Against Former Blue Bell CEO for 2015 Listeria Outbreak

FILE: Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of an Overland Park grocery store prior to being removed on April 21, 2015 in Overland Park, Kansas. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all products following a Listeria contamination.
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The felony charges against former Blue Bell Creameries CEO Paul Kruse in the 2015 listeria outbreak were dismissed, NBC Houston affiliate KPRC reported Wednesday.

Kruse had been charged with seven felonies for allegedly concealing what the company knew about the listeria contamination. A federal judge in Austin dismissed the charges for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

“Mr. Kruse appreciates the Court’s decision to grant his motion to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. We believe any additional attempts to charge Mr. Kruse will be untimely. Hopefully, the federal government can re-allocate their resources to more pressing matters during these trying times,” Kruse’s lawyer Chris Flood wrote in a statement Wednesday to KPRC.

If Kruse had been convicted, he would have faced up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each charge, which included conspiracy, wire fraud and attempted wire fraud.

Blue Bell agreed to pay a nearly $20 million settlement and plead guilty to shipping contaminated products linked to the 2015 listeria outbreak that sickened 10 people and is linked to three deaths to resolve civil False Claims Act allegations in May.

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