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Nation IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C.

Espy Special Counsel Grills Chicken King

May 23, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Chicken magnate Don Tyson was questioned by a federal grand jury investigating favors that agribusinesses bestowed on former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy. Tyson, the retired chairman of Tyson Foods Inc. and a major political contributor through President Clinton's years as Arkansas governor, was questioned by a team of prosecutors led by independent counsel Donald C. Smaltz, who made an unusual appearance before the grand jury. Smaltz is investigating whether Tyson Foods sought political influence at the Agriculture Department when its lobbyist paid for an airline ticket for Espy's girlfriend when the couple went to a National Football League playoff game in Dallas. No charges have been filed against Espy.

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