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Former FDA commissioner enters guilty plea to misdemeanor charges

[JURIST] Dr. Lester M. Crawford [official profile], former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) [official website], pleaded guilty to charges [criminal information, PDF] of conflict of interest and false writing [US Code text] at his arraignment hearing Tuesday afternoon in front of US Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson. Both crimes are misdemeanors and carry a combined maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and a $200,000 fine. Crawford's lawyers said earlier in the week that he would plead guilty to the charges [JURIST report].

According to a press release [text] from the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, the false writings charge stemmed from Crawford's failure to disclose his and/or his wife's ownership of stock in several "significantly regulated organizations." That list included such companies as such as Embrex, Sysco, Teleflex and PepsiCo [corporate websites]. The charge of conflict of interest involved FDA proceedings that Crawford oversaw that directly concerned PepsiCo and Sysco while he owned stock in both companies. Sentencing is scheduled for January 22, 2007. AP has more.

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