Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The New Pleas - Causey & Weisberg

Two Major Pleas for the Government Today - -  Both require cooperation with the government.

As anticipated, Richard Causey entered a plea this afternoon to Securities Fraud and agreed to cooperate with the government in the trial of Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. (see Wall Street Jrl here).  The plea, however, is somewhat bothersome.  It provides for a term of seven years unless the government is happy with the cooperation of Causey, in which case it can be reduced to five years.  The bothersome aspect of this plea is that it requires Causey to produce testimony to save himself two years.  This will most likely be a key aspect for Lay and Skilling in their cross-examination of Causey. With a need to please the government to secure an even further reduction in the sentence, the truth in Causey's testimony has the potential to be distorted.  Does the government get more information, more truthful information, or more false information when they hang a condition onto a plea that allows an accused to receive an additional benefit based upon their testimony in court.  Now clearly the government will say that they only reward for truthful testimony, but how will they truly know what is and is not truthful?  After all, if they already had this truthful testimony they wouldn't need this new witness.   

And CNN Money reports here that in a last minute plea, Marc Weisberg, a former exec at Qwest Communications avoided his trial set for this coming week and entered a plea agreement that anticipates him testifying against recently indicted CEO Joseph Nacchio. (see post here).

(esp)

                                                                                       

UPDATE: The Causey plea agreement is available on Findlaw here. (ph)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/whitecollarcrime_blog/2005/12/the_new_pleas_c.html

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