Precedent may erase Enron guilty verdict

HOUSTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The guilty verdict against Enron founder Kenneth Lay of Houston could be wiped out due to a legal precedent set by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Two years ago the court ruled that a person's criminal record is "abated" if he or she dies before having a chance to exhaust all avenues of appeal, the Christian Science Monitor reports.


On the basis of that ruling, the lawyer for Lay's estate has filed a motion in federal court asking that his entire criminal record be erased which would make Lay an innocent man.

The move could render tens of million of dollars in his estate off-limits to creditors, including the U.S. Justice Department which has said it would use all available legal means to reclaim money related to the criminal charges against Lay.

Prosecutors have indicated they will file a motion opposing the request for abatement but think it is unlikely the judge in the case would rule against legal precedent.

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