Ex-Sun-Diamond Exec Convicted in Espy Case
Richard Douglas, former senior vice president of Sun-Diamond Growers of California, was found guilty by a federal jury in San Francisco of giving $7,600 in illegal gratuities to former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. The verdict is the latest in a series of legal defeats for Sun-Diamond, the nation’s largest fruit and nut cooperative, in independent counsel Donald Smaltz’s probe of Espy. In May, Sun-Diamond was fined $1.5 million and given five years probation for trying to influence Espy with tickets to sporting events and for making illegal contributions to the congressional campaign of the former Cabinet official’s brother. Espy has pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted more than $35,000 in gifts from prohibited sources. Douglas faces a maximum two-year sentence and $250,000 fine. He also faces a separate trial on nine counts of wire fraud involving a mortgage loan.