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Enron trials will stay in Houston

Jan. 19, 2005 at 2:29 PM

HOUSTON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A Houston judge Wednesday rejected defense motions to move the trials of top former Enron officials from the Texas city.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake said Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Rick Causey could find a fair jury among residents in the Houston area, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Lake said coverage has been extensive in Houston, but he said he was not persuaded it was "so inflammatory or pervasive" as to prevent a fair trial.

Enron Task Force prosecutors argued there was no reason to leave Houston since two Houston juries have already reached verdicts in Enron-related cases.

Defensey attorneys argued the city was too deeply altered by the scandal to be fair to the former executives and local publicity had prejudiced any potential jury pool.

Lay, Skilling and Causey face fraud and conspiracy charges related to the collapse of the Houston energy giant. The judge has not scheduled dates for the trials.

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