The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has notified victims of Enron Corp.'s fraud and 2001 bankruptcy that prosecutors may enter into an agreement with imprisoned former CEO Jeffrey Skilling that could result in a resentencing.
Skilling, 59, has served more than six years of a 24-year prison term after he was convicted by a Houston jury in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in May 2006 on 19 criminal counts for securities fraud, conspiracy, making false statements to auditors and insider trading (see Daily GPI, May 26, 2006). Chairman Kenneth Lay, who was convicted on 10 criminal counts for conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements, died less than two months later of a heart attack.
Assuming good behavior, Skilling would be scheduled to leave prison around February 2028, according to federal officials.
Skilling, who has maintained his innocence, has lost on appeal for his convictions through the courts all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which rejected his appeal last year (see Daily GPI, April 17, 2012). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans reaffirmed the conviction in 2011, finding that the federal government's evidence of conspiracy was "overwhelming," but it reiterated, as it had in 2009, that the sentence had been miscalculated by the district court (see Daily GPI, April 8, 2011). The resentencing issue was remanded to the lower court (U.S. v. Skilling, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, No. 04-cr-00025).
In the notice Wednesday, the DOJ advised former Enron employees, shareholders and other victims that they have until April 17 to object to a possible resentencing agreement.
"The Department of Justice is considering entering into a sentencing agreement with the defendant in this matter," the notice said. "Such a sentencing agreement could restrict the parties and the court from recommending, arguing for, or imposing certain sentences or conditions of confinement. It could also restrict the parties from challenging certain issues on appeal, including the sentence ultimately imposed by the court at a future sentencing hearing."
District Judge Sim Lake, who imposed the original sentence, would be required to sign off on any agreement.
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