Saturday, December 3, 2005

Enron Defense Claim of Prosecutorial Misconduct Rejected

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake concluded after a hearing that the claims of Enron defendants Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, and Richard Causey of prosecutorial misconduct based on efforts to discourage potential witnesses from meeting with defense counsel were unfounded.  After hearing the testimony from local Houston attorneys Bob Sussman and Wendell Odom, who represent several former Enron employees, the judge said that he had not found prosecutorial misconduct, although he did not rule on the defense motion to dismiss.  Neither Sussman nor Odom testified that prosecutors from the Enron Task Force acted improperly, although the government's listing of their clients as unindicted coconspirators certainly influenced the decision to speak with defense attorneys.  The outcome of the defense argument is not surprising, given how difficult it is to ever pin down a claim of prosecutorial misconduct.  A Houston Chronicle story (here) discusses the hearing, and Tom Kirkendall on the Houston's Clear Thinkers blog has a more skeptical view of the hearing (here) and notes that the Enron Task Force attorney hinted at a possible indictment of other former Enron employees in the near future. (ph)

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