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Enron jury begins deliberations

May 17, 2006 at 2:28 PM

HOUSTON, May 17 (UPI) -- A Houston jury Wednesday began deliberating the fate of the former leaders of Enron Corp., an energy company that collapsed in a massive accounting scandal.

Kenneth Lay, Enron's 64-year-old former chairman, and Jeffrey Skilling, the 52-year-old former chief executive officer, are charged with fraud and conspiracy for allegedly deceiving investors about the financial troubles of the once-mighty energy trading company, the Washington Post reported.

Enron collapsed in 2001 in what was then the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history -- a loss of more than $60 billion in market value, almost $2.1 billion in pension plans and 5,600 jobs.

Both Lay and Skilling, each of whom testified in their own behalf during the 15-week trial, face as many as 25 years behind bars if convicted on all charges.

While Lay's lawyers and their client presented him as a trusting overseer with little day-to-day awareness of any accounting issues, Skilling's lawyers and their client stressed there simply was no fraud and that Enron was the victim of investor and media hysteria of an otherwise marginal accounting issue.

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