| SAN FRANCISCO, July 29
SAN FRANCISCO, July 29 The U.S. judge overseeing
a criminal drug prosecution against FedEx Corp said one
of the core issues will be what FedEx executives knew about
illegal online pharmacies whose packages it shipped.
At a hearing on Tuesday in San Francisco federal court, U.S.
District Judge Charles Breyer also said he would like the
complex case to proceed to trial quickly.
"I have a couple of goals. One is to try this case in my
lifetime," Breyer said.
FedEx was indicted earlier this month on 15 criminal counts,
including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Senior
company managers were repeatedly warned that online pharmacies
which had been the subject of criminal prosecutions for
supplying drugs without prescriptions were using its services,
the indictment said.
Instead of stopping the conduct, FedEx devised policies so
it could continue, the filing said.
FedEx had said it is innocent, and general counsel Christine
Richards appeared before a magistrate judge on Tuesday to
formally enter a not guilty plea. After the hearing, FedEx
attorney Cristina Arguedas said the company has cooperated with
U.S. prosecutors throughout their investigation.
"FedEx will continue to defend its conduct and its people,"
Arguedas said. Assistant U.S. attorney Kyle Waldinger declined
to comment after court.
If convicted, FedEx could face fines of up to roughly $1.6
In court on Tuesday, Breyer said it should be easy for both
sides to focus on the core issues and quickly move through
pretrial document exchanges.
"The real issue is, what were the duties of FedEx?" Breyer
said. "What did they know and what did they not know? What were
they told and what were they not told?"
Arguedas said the company also wanted to move
"expeditiously" to trial.
Another court hearing is scheduled for September 24.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of
California is United States of America vs. FedEx Corp et al,
(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Richard Chang)