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November 1, 2010

Will justice be done in Jeff Skilling’s case?

skilling Oral argument before a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Houston occurs today on the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal and remand of former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling's appeal of his criminal conviction.

Although the Supreme Court did not overturn all counts of Skilling's conviction, it remanded the remaining counts to the Fifth Circuit to determine whether any of them should stand given the Supreme Court's reversal of the other counts based on the invalid "honest services" wire fraud charges.

In essence, Skilling is arguing on remand that the government relied on the amorphous nature of that invalid theory of criminality in obtaining a conviction against him on numerous different charges. Having relied on that invalid theory of criminality, Skilling contends that the government cannot now prove that the jury didn't rely on it in convicting Skilling on the other charges, too. Although results rarely occur as they should in misdirected criminal prosecutions, Skilling really should win his release and a re-trial.

Meanwhile, rather than address the merits of Skilling's important case, the Wall Street Journal - which already has a dubious record of coverage in Enron-related criminal prosecutions - serves up the following characterization of the Enron-related prosecutions in this recent article on another miscarriage of justice related to the demise of Enron:

The U.S. government's Enron Task Force criminally charged about 30 individuals, including Mr. Brown, but said there were more than 100 other unindicted co-conspirators. The task force got guilty pleas from more than a dozen people and won a 2006 fraud conviction against former Enron President Jeffrey Skilling.

Some of the group's courtroom victories have been upended on appeal. Mr. Skilling's conviction and 24-year sentence are under appeals-court review following a Supreme Court decision invalidating part of his case.

"Some of the [Enron Task Force's] courtroom victories have been upended on appeal"? In reality, not any of the criminal convictions that the Enron Task Force obtained after a trial have been upheld on appeal. Not one.

Seems like something that the nation's leading business newspaper would get right, don't you think?

Posted by Tom at November 1, 2010 12:01 AM |


US government's prosecutor invented a "legal sufficiency hypothesis" to stave "honest services" as "harmless error" in Skilling's conspiracy verdict. Three-judge panel's questions lean toward an effort to explain the jury's underwhelmed rationale and complex market practices unbalancing the energy markets in particular and the broader global economy in general...

How could a local U.S jury be "rational" and judge global crime under extreme industrial (Exxon) and financial markets pressure as we now all witness.
That was the question I asked Sim Lake during trial, but he didn't even let me finish my point.
Sim Lake is guilty while costs and harm for the victims just goes on & on.

Posted by: E - Author Profile Page at November 3, 2010 2:09 AM

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