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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Holding a Criminal Term
Grand Jury 95-1, Sworn on January 6, 1995


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

VS.

 

JACK L. WILLIAMS,

  Defendant.


 

INDICTMENT

Criminal No. 96-0314

Violations:

False Statements
(18 U.S.C. 1001)

Aiding and Abetting
(18 U.S.C. 2)

 

THE GRAND JURY CHARGES:

Introduction At all times relevant to this Indictment:

  1. JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, was a lobbyist who represented the interests of Tyson Foods, Inc., in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, before various United States government agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA"). WILLIAMS received compensation from Tyson Foods, Inc. in the form of a monthly retainer of approximately $6,750, or $81,000 annually, plus expenses and bonuses.
  2. Tyson Foods, Inc. was and is a Delaware corporation with annual sales in fiscal year 1994 in excess of approximately $5 billion. Tyson Foods, Inc. produced and marketed in interstate and foreign commerce poultry, red meat and other products from facilities located in Springdale, Arkansas and elsewhere. Among other holdings, Tyson Foods, Inc. owned and operated beef and pork rendering and processing facilities which were administered through its Beef and Pork Division. During fiscal year 1994, Tyson Foods, Inc.'s Beef and Pork Division accounted for approximately 11 percent of the company's total revenue and total pounds of product produced.
    1. Don Tyson, not named as a defendant herein, was the chairman of the board of directors and principal shareholder of Tyson Foods, Inc.
    2. John Tyson, not named as a defendant herein, was Don Tyson's son, a member of the board of directors, and president of the Beef and Pork Division at Tyson Foods, Inc.

      (i) John Tyson also served as a director of the Tyson Foundation, Inc., a non-profit Arkansas charitable corporation organized for the purpose of providing financial assistance in the form of scholarships to post-secondary students from geographic areas in the vicinity of Tyson operating facilities.

      (ii) Among other duties, John Tyson supervised the activities of Archie Schaffer.

    3. Archie Schaffer, not named as a defendant herein, was a vice-president in charge of Media, Governmental and Public Affairs of Tyson Foods, Inc. JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, reported to Schaffer, whose responsibilities included, among other things, supervision of the lobbying activities of Tyson Foods, Inc. In part and among other things, Schaffer approved for payment by Tyson Foods, Inc. WILLIAMS' invoices for services rendered and expenses incurred on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc.
  3. Tyson Foods, Inc. did business with, had various matters pending before and conducted activities regulated by USDA. Among other things, defendant Tyson Foods, Inc. participated in the sale of various of its products through programs administered by USDA.
  4. From on or about January 21, 1993 until his resignation effective December 31, 1994, Michael Espy (hereinafter, "Secretary Espy"), not named as a defendant herein, was the United States Secretary of Agriculture.
    1. Secretary Espy, an Executive Branch employee and cabinet appointee, was the head of USDA and an officer of the United States who was appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and served at the pleasure of the President. Secretary Espy maintained an office located at the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., for the purpose of conducting the official business and duties of the Office of Secretary of Agriculture. The official duties of the Secretary of Agriculture included enforcing the provisions of the Meat Inspection Act of 1907, Title 21, United States Code, 601-91 (hereinafter, the "Meat Inspection Act"), and other statutes administered by the Department of Agriculture.
    2. Secretary Espy maintained a close personal relationship with an individual, who is not a defendant in this matter (hereinafter, the "Secretary's girlfriend").
  5. An individual, not named as a defendant herein, was from in or about September 1993 the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services, and from in or about January 1994, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services.
    1. The official duties of the Acting Assistant Secretary included supervision of the Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service ("FSIS"), which was charged with regulating the meat and poultry industry to ensure that meat and poultry products moving in interstate and foreign commerce were safe, free from contamination by foreign matter, wholesome, fresh, and accurately labeled.
    2. The Acting Assistant Secretary's authority to regulate and inspect meat products was pursuant to the provisions of the Meat Inspection Act.

The Meat Inspection Act

  1. Section 643 of the Meat Inspection Act provided, in pertinent part, that "no ... corporation shall engage in business, in or for commerce, as a meat broker, renderer, or animal food manufacturer ... of any cattle [or] ... swine ..., unless, when required by regulations of the Secretary, he has registered with the Secretary."
  2. Certain plant and facilities owned and operated by Tyson Foods, Inc. were registered under the Meat Inspection Act pursuant to regulations administered by the Secretary of Agriculture.
  3. Section 622 of the Meat Inspection Act prohibited, in part and among other things, "any officer or employee of the United States authorized to perform any of the duties" under the Meat Inspection Act from "receiv[ing] or accept[ing] from any person, firm, or corporation engaged in commerce any gift, money, or other thing of value, given with any purpose or intent whatsoever."
  4. The Secretary of Agriculture and the Acting Assistant Secretary were officers and employees of the United States authorized to perform duties under the Meat Inspection Act.

Things of Value Provided to Senior USDA
Officials on Behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc.

  1. JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc., followed a course of conduct of providing and causing Tyson Foods, Inc. to provide things of value to officials of the United States Department of Agriculture and their intimate associates for the benefit of those officials.

    A. The Scholarship Application

  2. On or about September 18, 1993, at a Congressional Black Caucus dinner in Washington, D.C., John Tyson had a conversation with a woman known to him as the Secretary's girlfriend. During the conversation, John Tyson advised the Secretary's girlfriend, in part and in substance, about scholarship money available from the Tyson Foundation so that she might continue her education.
  3. On or about November 22, 1993, in Washington, D.C., JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, received by telefax transmission from the Secretary's girlfriend at her place of employment a letter addressed to John Tyson inquiring about scholarship money available from the Tyson Foundation. In that letter, the Secretary's girlfriend explained that:
    1. she would be enrolling at a university in January 1994 as a freshman; and
    2. she intended to pursue and complete as a full-time student an undergraduate degree in business.
  4. On or about November 22, 1993, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, sent by telefax transmission to Tyson Foods, Inc. the letter from the Secretary's girlfriend addressed to John Tyson.
  5. On or after November 22, 1993, John Tyson received the letter from the Secretary's girlfriend.
  6. On or about the morning of December 10, 1993, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, received a telefax transmission from the Tyson Foundation, Inc. which included an application for scholarship money.
  7. On or about the afternoon of December 10, 1993, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, sent a telefax transmission of the application for scholarship money to the Secretary's girlfriend at her place of employment.
  8. On or about December 21, 1993, the Secretary's girlfriend sent a completed application for scholarship money by telefax transmission to the Tyson Foundation, Inc. in Springdale, Arkansas.
  9. On or about January 3, 1994, in a letter from the Tyson Foundation, Inc., the Secretary's girlfriend was advised that the Tyson Foundation, Inc. was providing $1,200 in scholarship money and that additional funds would be available in the future subject to completion of a renewal application. The criteria for obtaining additional funds were set forth in the scholarship application, which indicated that scholarship money was available up to a maximum total of eight semesters, or approximately $9,600 in the case of the Secretary's girlfriend.
  10. Between on or after January 4, 1994 and on or about January 13, 1994, the Secretary's girlfriend received a check from the Tyson Foundation, Inc. in the amount of approximately $1,200 and deposited the check into her personal bank account.

    B. Dallas Cowboys Playoff Game

  11. On or about the morning of January 12, 1994, the Secretary's girlfriend called American Airlines and made an unconfirmed reservation for herself to fly from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Texas on January 15, 1994 and return on January 16, 1994.
  12. On or about the afternoon of January 12, 1994, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, called Bell Travel Company ("Bell Travel"), a travel agency in Washington, D.C., and directed that the booking of the Secretary's girlfriend's round-trip flight reservation to Dallas, Texas be charged to his personal VISA account.
  13. On or about the afternoon of January 12, 1994, Bell Travel caused American Airlines to bill the plane reservation in "coach" class for the Secretary's girlfriend to the personal VISA account of JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant.
  14. On or about January 13, 1994, at approximately 10:19 a.m., JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, had a telephone conversation with the Secretary's girlfriend. Thereafter, WILLIAMS caused his limousine service driver to deliver airline tickets personally to the Secretary's girlfriend at her place of employment.
  15. On or about January 14, 1994, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, discussed with the personal secretary to Don Tyson travel arrangements for the Secretary of Agriculture and his girlfriend to attend the January 16, 1994 National Football League playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers.
  16. On or about January 15, 1994, the Secretary's girlfriend traveled on American Airlines from Washington, D.C. National Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where she met Secretary Espy, who had flown from Lubbock, Texas.
  17. On or about January 15, 1994, upon arrival in Dallas, Texas, a limousine service arranged and paid for by Tyson Foods, Inc., picked up Secretary Espy and his girlfriend at the airport and drove them to their hotel.
  18. On or about January 16, 1994, Secretary Espy and his girlfriend were transported from their hotel by limousine service arranged for and paid by Tyson Foods, Inc., to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where they met with Don Tyson and others. Thereafter, two limousines arranged for and paid by Tyson Foods, Inc. transported Secretary Espy, his girlfriend, Don Tyson and others to Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas to attend the Dallas Cowboys' playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
  19. On or about January 16, 1994, Secretary Espy and his girlfriend attended a pre-game meal as guests of Don Tyson, and later joined Don Tyson, John Tyson and others in a Texas Stadium private skybox owned by Tyson Foods, Inc.
  20. On or about January 16, 1994, following the football game, Secretary Espy and his girlfriend were transported by limousine service arranged for and paid by Tyson Foods, Inc., from Texas Stadium to a shopping mall and then to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for the return trip to Washington, D.C.
  21. On or about February 22, 1994, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, made a monthly payment of $4,291.85 to his personal VISA account, which included the $1,009 charge for the Secretary's girlfriend's round trip airfare on American Airlines from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Texas on January 15-16, 1994.

    C. Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball Game

  22. In or about December 10, 1993, at the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, invited the then-Deputy Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Inspection Services, USDA, to meet with his client, Tyson Foods, Inc., in Arkansas. With this invitation, WILLIAMS also offered to obtain a ticket for the then-Deputy Assistant Secretary to attend a University of Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game.
  23. On or about January 1, 1994, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Marketing and Inspection Services, became the Acting Assistant Secretary.
  24. On or about January 12, 1994, at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., the Acting Assistant Secretary had a meeting with JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, and Archie Schaffer of Tyson Foods, Inc.
  25. On or about January 31, 1994, the Acting Assistant Secretary traveled to Kansas City, Missouri on official government business to address a meeting held by an association of dairy farmers for whom JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, also served as lobbyist.
  26. On or about February 1, 1994, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant:
    1. arranged with American Airlines to provide the Acting Assistant Secretary with an upgrade from coach to "first class" worth approximately $84 for a portion of her return flight on February 2, 1994 to Washington, D.C.;
    2. accompanied the Acting Assistant Secretary on a commuter airline flight from Kansas City, Missouri to Fayetteville, Arkansas;
    3. provided the Acting Assistant Secretary with a ticket for a seat located in a private skybox owned by Tyson Foods, Inc., for the University of Arkansas-Vanderbilt University basketball game that evening; and
    4. together with Don Tyson, Archie Schaffer, and others, attended the Arkansas-Vanderbilt basketball game with the Acting Assistant Secretary and hosted the Acting Assistant Secretary in the private skybox belonging to Tyson Foods, Inc., at the University of Arkansas.
  27. On or about the afternoon of February 2, 1994, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, met the Acting Assistant Secretary at the airport in Nashville, Tennessee after she arrived from Fayetteville, Arkansas, obtained her airline ticket, caused an American Airlines "AAdvantage" upgrade sticker to be affixed to that ticket, and, as a result, received a boarding pass for the Acting Assistant Secretary for a "companion upgrade" to a seat in "first class" next to his for the return flight to Washington, D.C.
  28. On or about February 6, 1994, following a conversation with the USDA Ethics Officer, the Acting Assistant Secretary sent a check payable to defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS, in the amount of approximately $13.00, to pay for the ticket to the "Razorback Game." The check subsequently was endorsed for deposit to Tyson Foods, Inc.

The Investigation

  1. On or about March 17, 1994, the Wall Street Journal published a news story entitled "Tyson Foods, With a Friend in the White House, Gets Gentle Treatment From Agriculture Agency," which noted, in part and among other things, that Tyson Foods, Inc. in January 1994, had "feted" the Secretary of Agriculture at a Dallas Cowboys football game and recently had "entertained" the Acting Assistant Secretary at an Arkansas-Vanderbilt basketball game. The article further quoted Secretary Espy as acknowledging that he met with Tyson lobbyists "all the time."
  2. On or about March 18, 1994, the Office of the Inspector General, USDA, opened an investigation into matters raised in the March 17, 1994 Wall Street Journal article.
  3. On or about March 18, 1994, Michael Espy sent a check, dated March 10, 1994, payable to Don Tyson and in the amount of approximately $68.00, to "reimburse for [Secretary Espy's] ticket" to the January 1994 Dallas Cowboys playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. The check subsequently was endorsed for deposit to Tyson Foods, Inc.
  4. On or about March 22, 1994, at his home in Washington, D.C., JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, was interviewed by agents with the Office of Inspector General, USDA, concerning, among other things, the February 1, 1994 trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas that WILLIAMS arranged on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. for the benefit of the Acting Assistant Secretary. In substance and among other things, WILLIAMS stated that (i) he was retained by Tyson Foods, Inc. as a lobbyist, (ii) his point of contact there was Archie Schaffer, (iii) WILLIAMS furnished the Acting Assistant Secretary a skybox ticket to the University of Arkansas basketball game, (iv) he upgraded to first class the Acting Assistant Secretary's return flight to Washington, D.C., and (v) he recalled having at least two private meetings with Secretary Espy, one of which was on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc.
  5. On or about March 25, 1994, the Acting Assistant Secretary sent a check payable to defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS, in the amount of approximately $84.00, to pay him for the first class upgrade on the "Feb. 2 -- Connecting Airflight." The check subsequently was deposited by WILLIAMS into his personal bank account.

COUNT ONE

  1. Paragraphs 1 through 42 of this Indictment are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  2. On or about March 22, 1994, in the District of Columbia, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Inspector General, USDA, a department and agency of the United States, willfully and knowingly:
    1. made materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations, to wit, defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS stated to two agents with the Office of the Inspector General, USDA, that he had heard only through rumor and news reports that the Secretary of Agriculture was a guest of Tyson Foods, Inc. at the January 16, 1994 Dallas Cowboys football game and did not know if the Secretary of Agriculture actually was a guest at such a game, when in truth and in fact as JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, well knew, (i) he paid for the airline tickets of the Secretary's girlfriend so that she could attend the football game together with the Secretary of Agriculture as guests of Don Tyson and Tyson Foods, Inc. in their corporate skybox at Texas Stadium and (ii) he discussed with Don Tyson's personal secretary, before the game, the flight itinerary to Dallas, Texas for the Secretary's girlfriend; and
    2. concealed and covered up by means of a trick, scheme, and device material facts, to wit, that defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS had provided and caused to be provided, on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc., things of value to the Secretary's girlfriend for the benefit of Secretary Espy, namely, as WILLIAMS well knew, airline tickets in the amount of $1,009 and scholarship money in the amount of $1,200, in addition to things of value provided by WILLIAMS to the Acting Assistant Secretary, namely, the basketball ticket whose face value was $13 and the upgrade to first class whose fair market value was approximately $84.
  3. It was material to the investigation to ascertain the role of JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, in providing to the Secretary of Agriculture and other officials of the Department of Agriculture, directly and indirectly, things of value on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc., a company that did business with, had various matters pending before and conducted activities regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture ("USDA").

    (In violation of Title 18, United States Code, 1001 and 2).

COUNT TWO

THE GRAND JURY FURTHER CHARGES:

  1. Paragraphs 1 through 42 and 45 of Count One of this Indictment are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.
  2. On or about April 19, 1994, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation to consider, among other things, allegations of impropriety relating to the Secretary of Agriculture's attendance at the January 16, 1994 Dallas Cowboys game in Irving, Texas.
  3. On or about June 1, 1994, Secretary Espy was interviewed by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  4. On or about June 9, 1994, the New York Times published a news story which stated, in part and among other things, that "federal investigators are examining whether Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy illegally accepted free travel, tickets to sporting events and other gifts from Tyson Foods, Inc." The article further stated that the investigation "centers on a possible violation of the 1907 Meat Inspection Act, which makes it a crime for officials like Mr. Espy to receive any ‘thing of value' from any [regulated] company or person" and noted that the matter had been "referred" to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The article noted that "the investigation is nearing a crucial point when prosecutors at the Justice Department must decide whether to pursue the inquiry further or drop the investigation" because "Congress is poised to re-enact the independent counsel statute." The article added, "If the inquiry remains unresolved by the time the statute is re-enacted, Mr. Espy, as a senior Administration official, would be a potential candidate for scrutiny," but "the Justice Department might decline to prosecute in the next few days to kill the inquiry before the statute is reauthorized."
  5. On or about June 9, 1994, at his home in Washington, D.C., JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, was interviewed by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and, among other things, brought to their attention and provided to them a copy of the June 9, 1994 New York Times article referred to above.
  6. On or about June 9, 1994, in the District of Columbia, JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), an agency of the United States, willfully and knowingly:
    1. made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations, to wit, defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS stated to two special agents of the FBI that (i) he did not remember talking to the girlfriend of Secretary of Agriculture Michael Espy ("Espy") on the telephone at any time and certainly not to make travel or other arrangements for her or Espy involving Tyson Foods, Inc. or any other client, (ii) he did not have her telephone number, (iii) he did not know where she was employed, and (iv) he had no prior knowledge of Espy's social/travel plans, including the Secretary of Agriculture's attendance at the Dallas Cowboys/Green Bay Packers football game on January 16, 1994, when in truth and in fact, as JACK L. WILLIAMS, the defendant, well knew, (i) on or about January 11, 1994, he placed a call to the Secretary's girlfriend at her place of employment, (ii) on or about January 12, 1994, he caused Bell Travel to charge airfare on American Airlines in the amount of approximately $1,009 to his personal VISA account and to issue round trip airline tickets in the name of the Secretary's girlfriend, (iii) on or about January 13, 1994, WILLIAMS caused his limousine service driver to deliver airline tickets to the Secretary's girlfriend personally at her place of employment, (iv) on or about January 14, 1994, WILLIAMS had a telephone conversation with Don Tyson's personal secretary concerning the flight itinerary for the Secretary's girlfriend, and (v) on or about January 15-16, 1994, the Secretary's girlfriend used the airline tickets provided by WILLIAMS to attend the Dallas Cowboys' playoff game with Espy as a guest of Don Tyson and Tyson Foods, Inc.; and
    2. concealed and covered up by means of a trick, scheme, and device material facts, to wit, that defendant JACK L. WILLIAMS had provided and caused to be provided, on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc., things of value to the Secretary's girlfriend for the benefit of Secretary Espy, namely, as WILLIAMS well knew, airline tickets in the amount of $1,009 and scholarship money in the amount of $1,200, in addition to things of value provided by WILLIAMS to the Acting Assistant Secretary, namely, the basketball ticket whose face value was $13 and the upgrade to first class whose fair market value was approximately $84.

    (In violation of Title 18, United States Code, 1001 and 2).

    Dated: Washington, D.C.
    September 17, 1996

     

    A TRUE BILL:

     

     



  • FOREPERSON
 

 

 



DONALD C. SMALTZ
Independent Counsel

 

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