Former plant manager says he lied to investigators

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) — A former manager of a south Georgia peanut processing plant blamed for a deadly salmonella outbreak says he lied to federal investigators to protect the company he worked for.

Samuel Lightsey testified Thursday that he lied to Food and Drug Administration investigators inspecting the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely in January 2009.

Former company owner Stewart Parnell and his brother, food broker Michael Parnell, are accused of shipping tainted products to customers and covering up lab tests showing they contained salmonella. Stewart Parnell and the plant's quality assurance manager, Mary Wilkerson, also are charged with obstructing justice.

Lightsey pleaded guilty to seven criminal counts in the case in May after reaching a deal with prosecutors.

The salmonella outbreak in 2008-09 killed nine and sickened more than 700.