0

Former Coca-Cola secretary testifies in conspiracy trial

ATLANTA - A former Coca-Cola secretary charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets from the world's largest beverage maker in an effort to sell them to rival Pepsi denied at her trial Monday that she committed a crime.

Asked by her lawyer if she took part in a conspiracy, a teary-eyed Joya Williams told jurors she did not.

''No. We never talked about anything like that whatsoever,'' Williams said, referring to herself and two co-defendants.

Williams, 41, testified she took documents from her employer home to protect herself.

''Can you tell the jurors how those bottles ended up at your home?'' defense lawyer Janice Singer asked Williams, referring to Coca-Cola product samples found in Williams' possession when she was arrested.

''Once again, it was me trying to protect myself,'' Williams told jurors.

Williams said her boss at the Atlanta-based company, Javier Sanchez Lamelas, had told her she needed to be more familiar with everything that he did so she could be more prepared as his administrative assistant.

Williams testified that Sanchez Lamelas, Coca-Cola's global brand director, was constantly on her back, so in a desperate attempt to hold onto her $46,000-a-year job she started copying every document she put her hands on and taking them home.