Criminal trial nearly two years in the making ended just five days after it began
The trial alleging FedEx knowingly delivered illegal prescriptions drugs to dealers and addicts ended abruptly when prosecutors suddenly moved to dismiss all charges against the shipping giant on Friday 17 June.
FedEx was charged in 2014 and the trial had begun on Monday 13 June.
US District Court Judge Charles Breyer said the prosecution’s two-page request to dismiss the charges did not specify a reason why they were dropping the case.
In court on Friday, Judge Breyer said FedEx had repeatedly asked the US Drug Enforcement Administration to give it the name of a customer that was shipping illegal drugs so it could stop working with the person, but the agency was either unwilling or unable to do so.
“The dismissal is an act, in the court’s view, entirely consistent with the government’s overarching obligation to seek justice even at the expense of some embarrassment,” he said according to the court transcript, adding that FedEx was “factually innocent”.
Prosecutors had initially claimed FedEx had conspired with two internet pharmacy organisations to ship sleep aids, sedatives, painkillers and other prescription drugs to customers who had not been physically examined by a doctor.
FedEx has maintained its innocence against the charges, saying it only shipped what it believed were legal drugs from licensed pharmacies.
“FedEx is and has always been innocent,” said FedEx spokesperson Patrick Fitzgerald, in a statement released after the charges were dropped.
“The case should never have been brought. The government should take a very hard look at how they made the tremendously poor decision to file these charges.
“Many companies would not have had the courage or the resources to defend themselves against false charges,” he said.
FedEx attorney Cristina Arguedas said the company did not reach any monetary settlement with the government in exchange for ending the case.