Jeff Skilling requests his release from prison

skillingDuring my unexpected absence from the blogosphere last week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals released Conrad Black from prison pending his re-trial on various business fraud charges.

That got me to thinking about what was going on in Jeff Skilling’s case on the same issue, so I checked in at the Fifth Circuit and found that Skilling has also requested his release from prison. That motion — as well as Skilling’s memorandum of law on why all remaining counts against him should be reversed and the entire case remanded for retrial — are below.

These two documents arguably provide the best description yet of the unjust nature of the criminal case against Skilling. In short, the government knew that it had a flimsy case against Skilling on conventional securities fraud (he simply believed in and touted his company like any other CEO) and wire fraud charges (he didn’t steal a dime from Enron).

So, the government relied on the defective honest services wire-fraud theory to convict Skilling of crimes based on amorphous, non-criminal acts such as not acting in the best interests of the company or promoting an unhealthy culture at Enron. Having relied heavily on the now-discredited honest services wire-fraud theory in obtaining convictions against Skilling on the more conventional charges, the government simply cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt (it’s burden on remand under such circumstances) that the jury did not rely on the acts relating to the honest services wire-fraud charges in convicting Skilling on the other charges.

It looks to me as if this case should be going back to the District Court for re-trial on all charges. Skilling and the government have agreed to an expedited briefing schedule on the issues and Skilling has requested that the Fifth Circuit review the matter on an expedited basis. Thus, look for a decision sometime next month.

Jeff Skilling’s Motion to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for Release Pending Retrial

Jeff Skilling Opening Merits Brief on Remand

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