2 of 3 accused in plot to steal Coke trade secrets plead guilty to conspiracy charge

Monday, October 23rd 2006, 11:52 am
By: News On 6

ATLANTA (AP) _ The two men accused of plotting with a secretary at Coca-Cola Co. to steal trade secrets from the world's biggest soft drink maker and trying to sell them to archrival PepsiCo Inc. each pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy.

Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney entered their pleas in federal court as part of a deal with prosecutors. They both could face up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine when they're sentenced Jan. 29.

Former Coke secretary Joya Williams is still scheduled to stand trial starting the week of Nov. 13.

``She is absolutely not pleading,'' Williams' attorney, Janice Singer, said immediately after Dimson and Duhaney's plea hearing.

During the hearing, Duhaney told the judge that Williams contacted him first and wanted to ``make things happen,'' while Dimson testified that he then was contacted by Duhaney to try to broker a deal with Pepsi.

Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney entered their pleas in federal court as part of a deal with prosecutors. Details of the agreements were not immediately available, including their sentences.

Williams, Dimson and Duhaney were indicted July 11 on federal conspiracy charges. The three were accused of stealing new product samples and confidential documents from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and trying to sell them to PepsiCo's Pepsi unit, which is second on U.S. soft drink sales to Coca-Cola.

The alleged plans were foiled after Pepsi, based in Purchase, N.Y., warned Coca-Cola.

The prosecution says a box containing two undisclosed Coca-Cola product samples and other confidential company documents was found in Duhaney's home during a search on July 5, the day all three were arrested and the same day a $1.5 million transaction was to occur. Documents were also found in Williams' home.

Coke has declined to reveal which product or products are linked to the samples.

Williams, who has since been fired as an administrative assistant for Coke's global brand director at its Atlanta headquarters, allegedly took the information from the company and gave it to Dimson and Duhaney.