AG Edmondson Reacts

Tulsa, OK – TULSA, Okla. (AP) Twelve poultry companies being sued by Oklahoma for polluting the Illinois River watershed are asking a judge to throw out a statement made by a member of their own legal team on how poultry litter is used.

In their filling, in Tulsa federal court, the companies cited a statement made by defense attorney Patrick Ryan at a preliminary hearing in 2008 that there's no question "that there has been an over-application of litter on some or many farms. That's not an issue in our book."

Oklahoma has said that the statement was an admission by the industry that the litter has been applied in violation of the law. The companies argue Ryan's statement should be excluded because it was taken out of context and does not constitute evidence.

"Even if Mr. Ryan's statement were somehow relevant evidence," the companies say in the filing, "it should nevertheless be excluded because its ... value is substantially outweighed by the danger it presents of unfair prejudice, confusion and delay."

Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods Inc., one of the companies named in the suit along with its subsidiaries Tyson Poultry Inc. and Tyson Chicken Inc., declined to comment beyond the court filing.

In an interview with KWGS News, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson says he finds the companies' request "ironic", but that it is not a major issue in the case.