As a jury deliberated his role as ringleader of a vast conspiracy to fix the price of canned tuna, Bumble Bee President and CEO Chris Lischewski did what we all do to kill time: took to social media.
Lischewski, who on Tuesday was found guilty of a felony count of fixing prices of canned tuna in violation of the US Sherman Act, used his newly minted Twitter account to post links to wine articles, including one less than 24 hours prior to the jury's verdict recommending an "exceptional, vibrant Spanish white wine."
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Lischewski's attorneys made their closing arguments on Monday in a San Francisco district court, before handing over the decision to the jury.
In court filings and his public actions (the executive continued to attend industry events this year), Lischewski appeared confident of his acquittal, and prepared for his second act in the seafood industry, even creating a website, Chrislischewski.net, highlighting his career, credentials and blog posts.
Lischewski also linked to a piece entitled "9 Things You Need to Know About Wine through the Ages" that he authored for Medium.com on Nov. 19.
The executive's passion for wine figured into the drawn-out price-fixing saga, and was among the evidence Lischewski's attorneys hoped to exclude from the case.
"Mr. Lischewski is a successful executive who was well-compensated," his lawyers said in its motion to exclude the evidence.
"But that is irrelevant to any issue the jury will be asked to decide in this case. What evidence of Mr. Lischewski’s remuneration, the car he drives, the wine he drinks, and the investments he holds shows -- indeed, the only thing it shows -- is that Mr. Lischewski is wealthier than most."
His tastes -- as expensive as they were -- were not a basis for criminal conviction, the argued.
"The government’s apparent purpose in seeking to introduce this evidence is to engender bad feelings towards Mr. Lischewski," the attorneys wrote.
"It is the government’s hope that the jury will see Mr. Lischewski as greedy, self-indulgent, or someone who is so wealthy that he has it coming to him. The government must not be allowed to 'equate wealth with wrongdoing.'"
Lischewski will be sentenced at a hearing in the coming days.