Monday, December 26, 2005
On Friday here we reported on the talk of the town - - could it be possible that former Enron Chief Accounting Officer Richard Causey would plead guilty. Would he cooperate with the government, most likely a necessity for a plea? And would the case against Lay and Skilling be able to still go to trial or would problems arising from a joint defense agreement cause a delay? Well it seems that either the rumors are spreading, or there is some truth to this possibility. One finds reports of a possible plea here (CNN Money -Reuters) and here (Houston Chronicle). But whether it will happen remains to be seen.
The Houston Chronicle notes in its article that "Causey lacks the financial assets of Skilling and Lay."
One key problem often faced by those accused of white collar offenses is the cost of the defense. In fraud cases where a defendant has reaped huge amounts of money, there may be funds available to present a strong defense. But for those who are caught up in a fraud case and may not have received huge benefits, and also lack substantial funds, the cost of presenting a defense can exceed the means of the accused. What does one do then? Do you plead guilty merely because you can't afford to defend your innocence? There is a big gap between being able to afford a top attorney and being deemed indigent by a court and eligible to receive the fine assistance provided by a federal public defender.