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Former Coke employee wants evidence suppressed

ATLANTA - A lawyer for a former Coca-Cola secretary charged with stealing trade secrets from the beverage giant and offering to sell them to rival Pepsi asked a federal judge Friday to suppress a computer disk, company documents and other evidence seized from her client's home.

Janice Singer filed a motion on behalf of her client, Joya Williams, alleging that agents provided insufficient probable cause in obtaining a warrant to search Williams' Norcross home and, therefore, what they found should be inadmissible.

An inventory of items seized from the home July 5, which was attached to the motion, shows agents removed a computer disc, Coca-Cola and Fanta documents, a bank deposit slip, Coca-Cola memos and e-mail and a journal.

Agents also removed a $1,291 check made payable to a ''Javier F. Sanchez.'' The name of Williams' former boss at Coke is Javier Sanchez Lamelas. It's not clear if the two are one in the same, and Coke officials and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to say. Singer said she did not know.

Separately, Singer filed a motion on Thursday asking that Williams' trial be severed from the trial of co-defendants Ibrahim Dimson and Edmund Duhaney.

Singer wrote that Williams' defense ''may or will be antagonistic to that of her co-defendants.''

The motion does not elaborate on Williams' defense, but says the motion may be expanded after more documents are turned over by the government.

In other motions filed Thursday, Singer asked that any evidence or statements the government received from Williams in violation of her rights be suppressed and that the government be forced to specify what evidence it plans to use against Williams at trial.

Duhaney's lawyer, Don Samuel, filed a motion Friday seeking to adopt any motions Singer filed that may apply to his client, while Dimson's lawyer, Anna Blitz, filed a motion Friday seeking a hearing to determine whether any statements Dimson made were voluntary.

There was no immediate ruling on any of the motions.

A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday. No trial date has been set.

Williams, Dimson and Duhaney were indicted July 11 on a federal conspiracy charge that accuses them of stealing new product samples and confidential documents from Coke and trying to sell them to Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc. The three have pleaded not guilty.

The alleged crime was foiled after Pepsi turned over to The Coca-Cola Co. a May letter Pepsi had received from a man the FBI later identified as Dimson, offering to sell Coke trade secrets to ''the highest bidder,'' the indictment says.

The prosecution says a box containing two undisclosed Coca-Cola product samples and other confidential company documents were 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.

Coke has declined to say what product or products the samples relate to.

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. Williams does not have a criminal record. Dimson and Duhaney both served time in federal prison - Dimson on a bank fraud charge, Duhaney on a cocaine charge.