Defense in Pilot Flying J case to focus on Jimmy Haslam's relationship with conspirator

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 10: Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam walks the field prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 10, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The fraud trial of former executives and sales representatives at the truck stop chain run by Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is wrapping up its first week.
    
The attorney for the company's onetime president has signaled that the relationship between Haslam one of the chief conspirators will become a focus of the defense.
    
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the lawyer for former Pilot Flying J President Mark Hazelwood raised the issue Thursday in the cross-examination of a former director. The ex-director is one of 14 executives and sales representatives who have pleaded guilty in the case.
    
Haslam has denied any prior knowledge about the scheme to defraud unsophisticated trucking company customers and has not been charged in the case.
    
Hazelwood and three others are on trial in Chattanooga.
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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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