Monday, April 17, 2006

Cross - Ex of Skilling

In some white collar cases, there is nothing better for the prosecution than having the defendant take the witness stand. The prosecution is likely to be thinking this here, as it allows them to put questionable transactions in the face of the defendant-witness.  With so much riding on the credibility of the witness, getting the witness/defendant tangled on dates, amounts, and reasons for selling stock (such as Enron failing) can help the prosecution build an image that this person cannot be trusted. And without doubt this case is likely to rest largely on which witnesses the jury believes.  (see Mary Flood's article in the Houston Chronicle here). 

Is it wrong for the accused to use a jury consultant to help him put answers in understandable English.  It sounds like the prosecution is implying that here (see Mary Flood's article in the Houston Chronicle here, NYTimes here).  Isn't this part of the lessons that FBI learn at the Academy, and shouldn't the defense have the same ability to learn how to speak to juries?  But some consider having the consultant so visible a misstep (see Wall Street Journal blog here)

And how will the government's technical problems play to the jury? (See Peter Lattman - Wall Street Journal here on the government's technical difficulties).

And PhotoFete, a Skilling investment that may have been filled with conflict?   Is this the key to devastation caused to so many at Enron? (Wall Street Journal here and here)  Or is this merely a prelude to a cross-examination that is forthcoming?


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