Despite failed attempts to have Scott Salyer released from the Sacramento County Jail on bail, the ex-SK Foods chief executive officer’s family, friends and attorney are trying again.
Salyer’s sister and two family friends offered four homes and family property worth almost $2 million as collateral for his release from jail in a request filed Aug. 6.
Court documents filed by the defense also claim that Salyer's health has deteriorated since the start of his jail stay in February. He has reportedly lost 30 pounds and has shown signs of lack of control over his diabetes.
As of Aug. 12, the prosecution had not responded, but is likely to, said Lauren Horwood from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, Sacramento.
In a previous attempt by Salyer’s lawyer to spring him from behind bars — in March — the judge set a $6 million bail and ordered that he wear an electronic locating device. Salyer tried to use a Pebble Beach mansion in which he and his daughters had equity as collateral, but the attempt was quashed when his former wife put up a claim on the house, depriving it of its equity, according to court documents.
After failing attempts to fight the claim his ex-wife had over the house, Salyer’s lawyer entered the new request for reconsideration of conditions of his release. Among the “family and longtime friends (that) have rallied to his support and trust him not to flee,” according to court documents, are Linda Lee, Salyer’s sister; Robert Pruett, a friend of more than 40 years; Robert Pruett’s parents, and Calvin Carter, a friend of more than 35 years.
Although the prosecution has yet to respond to this latest request, it has been busy responding to a July motion from Salyer’s lawyer to suppress evidence from the Federal Bureau of Investigation because of alleged misconduct by the bureau. Salyer’s lawyers claimed FBI agent Paul Artley persuaded a former SK Foods employee, Anthony Manuel, to act as an informant by wearing a wire tap and stealing evidence without a search warrant.
The prosecution filed five oppositions to a motion Aug. 10 asking the court to deny the motion to suppress evidence for a number of reasons, but also makes the points that, “even if Manuel’s tangible evidence and the wiretap interceptions of the defendant and everyone else were to be excised from the Search Warrant Affidavit, there would still be probable cause to search the defendant’s home and personal office,” according to one opposition document.
The documents go on to attempt to justify probable cause in the case. They include statements from Manuel, who reportedly said that under the direction of Salyer, the company mislabeled tomato products so that they appeared to meet customer requirements, including those for the National School Lunch Program, for mold, color, pH and foreign objects.
Further, the U.S. Attorney's Office claims Manuel did not steal the information as the defense alleged because his position as a Salyer vice president gave him access to it.
“We’re saying the evidence is good,” Horwood said.
Salyer was arrested in February at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, reportedly attempting to flee the country.
He was indicted on seven counts, including racketeering and fraud. His indictment included accusations that he falsified records after learning of a federal investigation of him and his company in 2008, and prior to that had bribed food manufacturers to ensure the sale of his processing tomatoes. He is also accused of mislabeling moldy tomatoes and selling them as viable products.
The FBI's investigation of Salyer and his companies started in August 2005.