HOUSTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- An appeals court in Houston is considering new standards that could overturn 19 convictions of former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling.
The three-panel court is reviewing the case based on a Supreme Court ruling that defined charges of a deprivation of "honest services" as acts that include bribery or kickbacks, The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.
In short, executives cannot be charged with various crimes if they did not profit from their misdeeds. Skilling, although convicted of 19 counts, was not charged with bribery or theft.
In a 30-minute presentation, defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli said the panel needed to judge if a "reasonable jury" would convict Skilling.
"The record is filled with acquittal evidence," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Wilson argued that "honest services" was a minor consideration in the Skilling case.
"Every transaction, every representation made to the public was meant to deceive the investing public by propping up the share price," he said.
Wilson called the evidence against Skilling "overwhelming."
When asked why the jury deliberated for five days if the evidence was overwhelming, Wilson said, "Five days is not very long for a five-month trial. This was a very careful jury."