After deliberating for two days and telling the judge that they were hung, the jury returned for an additional day of deliberation and ultimately convicted the defendant of conspiracy to stead trade secrets from Coca-Cola and sell them to Pepsi. Former Cocal-Cola secretary, Joya Williams, faces up to 10 years in prison. Total deliberation time: 11 1/2 hours over three days. Accomplices that had already pleaded guilty: two. Trade secrets revealed during the trial as evidence: zero.
You want to hold someone accountable for stealing trade secrets, but the defense wants to put the items into evidence to show that they were not trade secrets. Once they have been entered into the public record, they are no longer a trade secret. What do you do?
Williams attorney, Janice Singer, believes that that evidence will help clear Williams. Williams’ defense is based partly on the argument that the Coca-Cola documents Williams photocopied at her office at Coke headquarters in Atlanta and took home with her were simply some of the routine paperwork related to Williams’ job, not corporate secrets.
But Coke believes that the documents Williams wants to use in her defense are actually laden with the proprietary Coke information that Williams is accused of stealing and, ironically, incriminate her. But Coke’s main concern is making sure that Pepsi and other competitors do not see any of those documents, and they would if they were to become part of the public court record.
Joya Williams, former administrative assistant to Coca-Cola’s global brand director, is accused of stealing stealing new product samples and confidential documents from Coca-Cola and trying to sell them to PepsiCo Inc. The actual charge is for conspiracy, along with two other defendants, Edmund Duhaney and Ibrahim Dimson, were also indicted on the federal conspiracy charge for attempted theft of trade secrets. After Duhaney and Dimson approached Pepsi trying to sell the information, Pepsi called Coca-Cola, the FBI stepped in, and it was all downhill from therea. Duhaney and Dimson served time together in a federal penn; Duhaney five years for a concaine charge, and Dimson less than a year for bank fraud. The prosecution has video of Williams working at her desk at Coke, stuffing documents and samples into her bag, which were later recovered from her home during a search. There are not that many trade secret cases out there, but I promise they won’t all be as easy as this.