Jury selected in Coca-Cola trade secrets theft trial

ATLANTA- Twelve jurors were selected Wednesday to decide the fate of a former Coca-Cola secretary charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from the beverage giant in an effort to sell them to rival Pepsi.

Opening statements in Joya Williams' trial remain scheduled for Monday, her lawyer, Janice Singer, said.

Williams faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the single federal charge against her. She has pleaded not guilty. Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty to conspiracy, and at least one is expected to testify against her.

Williams, Edmund Duhaney and Ibrahim Dimson were indicted in July, accused of stealing new product samples and confidential documents from The Coca-Cola Co. and trying to sell them to Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc.

The alleged plans were foiled after Pepsi warned Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and an undercover FBI investigation was launched.

Williams was fired from her job as an administrative assistant to Coca-Cola's global brand director after the allegations came to light.

On Wednesday, 15 potential jurors were excused because they own Coca-Cola stock. Another 10 were excused for various reasons not disclosed by the court.

Prosecutors and defense lawyers then began individual questioning of the remaining potential jurors in an effort to select the 12 jurors who will hear the case - six men and six women - and the two alternates who will step in if needed. Both alternates are men. The pool consisted of 100 people.

Jury selection began Tuesday. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

Williams' lawyer plans to attack the credibility of the two men with whom Williams was charged.

The two men served prison terms at the same time at a federal penitentiary in Montgomery, Ala. Duhaney served nearly five years of a seven-year sentence on a cocaine charge before being released in 2005; Dimson served less than one year of a two-year sentence on a bank fraud charge before his release in 2004.