An Illinois jury found this week that several major egg producers colluded to limit the national supply to raise prices in a 12-year-old case, ABC News reported Tuesday.

“We are incredibly pleased by the jury’s decision to hold egg producers Cal-Maine Foods and Rose Acre Farms accountable alongside United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers for conspiring to inflate the price of eggs,” Brandon Fox, an attorney representing the food manufacturers, said in a statement to ABC News. “For the first time, the defendants have been held liable for their antitrust violations. We are now going to turn our attention to the damages phase.”

According to the report, food manufacturing companies including Kraft Foods Global, Inc. and The Kellogg Company filed the lawsuit in 2011 alleging major egg producers limited the supply in the United States through “various means” to raise prices during the 2000s.

The jury in the Northern District of Illinois case unanimously determined the defendant companies exported eggs to reduce the supply as well as limiting the number of producing chickens, causing damages to the food making industry between 2004-08, the report said.

A trial will begin next week to determine the financial damages to be awarded in the case.

The producing companies in the suit, Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., United Egg Producers, Inc., United States Egg Marketers, Inc. and Rose Acre Farms, Inc., were found to have engaged in the conspiracy, according to the report.

Rose Acre Farms, Inc., was chaired by U.S. GOP Indiana Senate candidate John Rust until September, providing his own campaign with $1.6 million since launching his bid for the open seat, Indianapolis Television station WFYI reported last month.

Rust is running in GOP primary against Rep. Jim Banks for the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Mike Braun, who is leaving the upper chamber to run for governor in 2024.

“I’m donating to my campaign rather than loaning to my campaign because I want to work in the United States Senate [on] day one for Hoosiers,” Rust told the Indiana Capital Chronicle in October. “I won’t be going there to just work to pay off my campaign debts. It is very important to me that people know I’m in for this race 100% for Hoosiers. And will not be beholden to the Washington swamp like Jim Banks is.”

Rust declined to comment to ABC on the jury’s verdict in the case Wednesday, and neither did the attorneys for the other suppliers named in the lawsuit.

Banks used the opportunity to go after Rust in a statement to ABC News following the verdict.

“Today’s verdict proves John Rust isn’t just a conman pretending to be a Republican, he is a crook who exploits working class Hoosiers across Indiana for his own financial gain,” Banks said in a written statement. “While Indiana families struggle to put food on the table, he’s making it even harder to do that.”

Charles Kim | [email protected]

Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.

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