The case of a former Coca-Cola employee accused of trying to sell company secrets to PepsiCo is heating up ahead of the impending trial.

The lawyer for the accused, Joya Williams, has asked a federal judge to allow her to question a number of Coca-Cola Company employees.

The lawyer, Janice Singer, said the Coke legal team had blocked her from contacting Coke employees.

Coca-Cola says direct contact with the employees is inappropriate. It has asked Singer to instead file her questions in writing to the company's lawyer, who would provide responses.
 
Singer claims that direct interviews are essential to the defence case. She wants to speak to at least five current Coca-Cola employees.
 
Prosecutors in the US have charged three people - Williams and two friends - with fraud along with stealing and selling trade secrets, which included a sample of a new drink.

Coke learned of the theft and the attempted sale of the "very detailed and confidential information" from Pepsi, which was approached in May by an individual claiming to be a high-level Coke employee.

Pepsi received a letter from the individual, who called himself "Dirk", and passed it on to Coke, which immediately contacted the FBI.