Prosecutors, defense to make opening statements in Georgia peanut salmonella trial

Attorneys are scheduled to make opening statements in the criminal trial of three people charged in a deadly salmonella outbreak traced to a southwest Georgia peanut plant five years ago.

Former Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell; his brother and food broker, Michael Parnell; and plant quality control manager Mary Wilkerson are charged with shipping tainted peanuts and covering up lab results that tested positive for salmonella.

Prosecutors have asked for two hours for opening statements Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Albany. Attorneys for each defendant will have 40 minutes apiece.

Nine people died and more than 700 were sickened in the 2009 outbreak. The dead were from Minnesota, Ohio, Virginia, Idaho and North Carolina.

A jury with six alternates was seated Thursday after three days of selection.