Government, citing flight risk, wants former Coke secretary jailed immediately

The government said in court papers Tuesday it believes a former Coca-Cola secretary convicted of conspiring to steal trade secrets from the beverage giant should be jailed immediately because she poses a flight risk.

In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Assistant U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak said clothing, prescription medication, papers and other personal items were found in Joya Williams' Mustang during a search after a fire destroyed her apartment Friday.

The fire, which has been ruled accidental by local officials in Norcross, an Atlanta suburb, occurred nearly 90 minutes after the guilty verdict was reached in federal court in Atlanta.

"With no place to live, with no money, with a significant amount of debt, and with the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence, the defendant poses a serious risk of flight," Pak argued in the motion.

Pak also indicated that while local fire investigators deemed Friday's fire was an accident caused by an unattended candle igniting some curtains in a bedroom of Williams' apartment, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives continues to investigate the incident.

"Residents from the Hunters Point apartment complex reported that they heard what sounded like an argument from Williams' apartment and items may have been thrown through her apartment windows," Pak wrote.

Pak also said that Williams made inconsistent statements to investigators about her location and actions during the fire.

He added, "Regardless of whether the fire was intentionally or accidentally set, the fact remains that the defendant no longer has a residence at which the pretrial release supervision can be maintained."

The government motion is seeking to force Williams to prove why she should not be remanded to the custody of federal marshals, and if she fails to do that, asks the court to order her jailed immediately, reports AP.

Williams, who was out on bond during her trial, currently remains free pending sentencing.

Williams, 41, faces up to 10 years in prison for conspiring to steal trade secrets from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. to sell them to rival PepsiCo Inc. No sentencing date has been set.

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