Enron cases continue seven years later

Aug. 7, 2008 at 2:11 PM
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HOUSTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors are fighting to preserve the integrity of the Enron prosecutions to prove they had the right approach, court and Wall Street observers said.

Post-trial maneuvering has not been smooth with the overturning of the conviction of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, the acquittal of a former broadband services executive and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to order new trials for four others, McClatchy Newspapers reported Thursday.

Former chairman Kenneth Lay was convicted, but died before sentencing and convicted Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling is in jail, waiting for word on his appeal.

In 2006 the appellate court struck down the pivotal "honest services" theory, which enabled prosecutors to pursue suspects who abetted, but did not profit from the alleged fraud.

If Skilling's convictions stand, "the Enron prosecutions were a success," said former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Peter Henning.

"If it doesn't, prosecutors will have a hard time convincing the public that they took the right approach," he said.

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