Under intense cross-examination Thursday, Enron Corp.’s ex-treasurer admitted he had no notes or e-mails to support his testimony that ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling committed fraud at the company. However, Ben Glisan Jr. told the jury, “the conversations were quite memorable.”
Glisan, who is serving five years in a minimum security prison in Texas after pleading guilty to fraud, spent the entire day under cross-examination in the trial of Skilling and Enron founder Kenneth Lay. Skilling lawyer Daniel Petrocelli spent most of the day trying to tear down earlier testimony, in which Glisan implicated both of the former Enron bosses in various financial crimes.
Petrocelli referred to Glisan’s direct testimony Wednesday concerning a meeting of the Enron board’s finance committee in 2000. In the meeting, Glisan said he requested approval of a complex financial scheme dubbed Raptor, which allowed Enron to hedge some of its investments and conceal losses within its supposedly independent LJM special purpose entity (SPE). Glisan kept detailed daily notes, but Petrocelli showed there were only 11 references to Skilling, and none suggested wrongdoing.
Were there any other written records that “you could capture with vivid recall conversations with Mr. Skilling?” Petrocelli asked. “No,” Glisan replied. However, Glisan remained firm in his assertions that Enron’s entire management team misled investors and analysts about the company’s true financial picture.
In rapid-fire questioning that at times was returned with rapid-fire “yes” or “no” answers, Petrocelli at one point asked, “Did you lie all day” Wednesday when discussing the fraud at Enron? “Absolutely not,” Glisan said. “Are you testifying to get special treatment at prison…to get out of prison early?” “It’s not fun,” Glisan answered. “I would never wish this on anyone. I would very much like to be with my family.”
When Lay lawyer Bruce Collins took over questioning, he focused first not on the financial deals Glisan claims Lay approved. Rather, Collins asked about a statement Glisan made Wednesday about Lay giggling when Glisan explained how the Raptor transaction could illegally hedge Enron’s losses at the meeting in 2000.
“I’ve gotten to know Mr. Lay pretty well,” Collins said. “He does chuckle. He doesn’t giggle.”
Glisan smiling, said, “I would concede ‘chuckle’ as opposed to ‘giggle.'”
Collins claimed Lay was chuckling about a joke made by another member of Enron’s finance committee, not at the Raptor deal. But Glisan stood firm.
“He was very proud of the structure,” Glisan said of Lay.
Admitting he hoped the testimony would “result in some betterment of my situation,” Glisan said if he perjured himself, he would remain in prison longer. If he testifies truthfully, he is scheduled to be released from prison in September.
Following Glisan’s direct testimony Wednesday, Lay appeared visibly annoyed. Outside of the courthouse in Houston, he said, “I’ve never heard so many lies in one day in my whole life. And you can quote me on that!” His wife Linda added, “Unbelievable.”
There are six more witnesses scheduled to testify for the prosecution, but Glisan is expected to be the last major government witness in the case. The trial will resume on Monday in Houston.
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