The defense team for Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay on Wednesday formally requested that Lay’s criminal record be erased. However, the government has indicated it plans to oppose the motion.

Lay died of a heart attack on July 5, and because he died before he could file an appeal or request a new trial, his defense team was expected to request his record be expunged. Washington, DC-based lawyer Samuel Buffone, who was handling Lay’s criminal appeal, asked U.S. District Judge Sim Lake on Wednesday to vacate and dismiss Lay’s record.

In a jury trial with co-defendant and ex-Enron COO Jeffrey Skilling, Lay was found guilty in May on one count of conspiracy, three counts of securities fraud and two counts of wire fraud related to misdeeds at Enron. In a bench trial, Lake also found Lay guilty on three counts of making false statements to banks and one count of bank fraud (see Daily GPI, May 26).

In most instances, the presiding judge would be expected to comply with the request. However, Buffone wrote in the motion that Enron Task Force prosecutor Kathleen Ruemmler has “indicated the government will oppose this motion.” Prosecutors declined to comment, but they have 20 days to oppose the defense motion.

Lay had been scheduled to be sentenced to federal prison on Oct. 23. Skilling is still scheduled to be sentenced on that day.

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