Former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling, whose 2006 convictions were upheld by a three-judge appellate panel earlier this month, has appealed the decision to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
In filings Tuesday, Skilling’s defense team asked the circuit court to decide whether to hold an “en banc” hearing. Early this month three judges on the circuit court upheld all 19 convictions against Skilling, but they said the former Enron boss should be resentenced (see Daily GPI, Jan. 7). The full 22-member appeals court may accept or decline to consider the appeal. Asking for a full-court review would allow Skilling eventually to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The filings this week argue that the three-judge panel’s decision conflicts with other rulings by the full circuit court on the issue of “honest services” fraud. Skilling claims that because he believed he was acting in the best interests of Enron, he could not be guilty of depriving Enron shareholders of his honest services as CEO. The filings also questioned the panel’s findings that Skilling received a fair trial in Houston, where Enron was headquartered.
The new appeal puts on hold Skilling’s resentencing, which was to be done by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, the presiding trial judge. Lake sentenced Skilling to 24 years and four months in federal prison based on his interpretation of federal sentencing guidelines. Based on the resentencing order, Skilling is expected to receive 15-20 years in prison.
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