So, the Fifth Circuit followed the instructions of the U.S. Supreme Court and finally directed the U.S. District Court in Houston to dismiss all remaining charges against former Enron Broadband executive, Scott Yeager. The appellate court’s order effectively ends a prosecution that was an abomination from the very beginning.
No convictions from trial resulted from the Enron Broadband criminal case. The prosecution generated only a few plea bargains (see also here and here) that were clearly motivated by the onerous trial penalty and expense of defending against the government’s intransigent pressing of its dubious theory of criminal liability. The Houston Chronicle’s Mary Flood interviewed Yeager and touches on the pressures he endured in fighting the charges.
Meanwhile, Jeff Skilling has now served over three years in prison because of a flawed conviction based on a similarly dubious theory of criminality. And Jamie Olis lost six years of his life away from his young family as a result of an equally bogus prosecution.
The prosecutors who pursued these cases ruined careers and harmed families by abusing the state’s overwhelming prosecutorial power. They remind me of Ayn Rand’s observation about socialists who use state power to further their supposedly altruistic goals:
“[T]he truth about their souls is worse than the obscene excuse you have allowed them, the excuse that the end justifies the means and that the horrors they practice are means to nobler ends.”
“The truth is that those horrors are their ends.”