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June 3, 2008

So, what's the difference?

Mel Weiss 060308 Mel Weiss was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison yesterday for making undisclosed payments to class representatives in class action lawsuits that his firm handled. As noted here about a year ago, Weiss didn't have much of a choice given the trial penalty that he was facing.

Meanwhile, in return for being the key witness against former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, Enron Task Force prosecutors "paid" Andy Fastow with a lighter prison sentence than the one the prosecutors disclosed to the jury and the judge during Skilling's trial. Those same prosecutors also withheld from Skilling's defense team exculpatory statements about Skilling that Fastow made before he elected to accept the prosecutors "payment" of a lighter sentence and testify against him. The lead prosecutors involved in arranging Fastow's testimony have gone on to presumably lucrative careers in private practice. Skilling is serving an effective life prison sentence.

As Larry Ribstein has long contended, paying kickbacks should not be condoned. However, the hyprocrisy reflected by the above-described state of affairs is not going to be solved by demonizing Mel Weiss.

Posted by Tom at June 3, 2008 12:01 AM |


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