Former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to review his convictions. Before Enron fell into bankruptcy in late 2001, Skilling had at various times been COO, president and CEO of the company. A jury in 2006 found Skilling guilty on one count of conspiracy (a joint count with Chairman Kenneth Lay), 12 counts of securities fraud, one count of insider trading and five counts of making false statements to auditors and Enron shareholders (see NGI, May 29, 2006). He was acquitted on nine counts of insider trading. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans in January upheld all of Skilling's 19 convictions, and a month later the full circuit court rejected a request for rehearing (see NGI, Feb. 16). The appeals court, however, ordered that Skilling be resentenced, which could reduce his prison term of 24 years and four months. The resentencing has not been completed, and until then Skilling is serving his sentence in a federal prison in Minnesota. The New Orleans appeals court said four months ago that Skilling had "failed to demonstrate that the government's case rested on an incorrect theory of law or that any reversible errors infected his trial." In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the defense team argues that under a federal fraud statute, prosecutors failed to show that Skilling wanted to advance his interests rather than those of Enron. The defense also contends that pretrial publicity prejudiced the jury and led to an unfair trial. The trial was held in Houston where Enron was headquartered. The Supreme Court could decide to hear or not hear the case before the court's term is completed this summer.
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