Saturday, April 1, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judges Uphold Skilling’s Conviction, Not Sentence

(CN) - The 5th Circuit upheld the conviction of former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling for his role in the energy giant's 2001 collapse, but ordered that Skilling be resentenced. The ruling could lead to a reduction in Skilling's 24-year prison term.

Skilling was convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, false statements and insider trading. About four months after Skilling resigned from Enron on Aug. 14, 2001, the company crashed into bankruptcy.

An investigation revealed that Skilling, Kenneth Lay and other Enron executives had manipulated Enron's earnings to satisfy Wall Street expectations, and then covered up the scheme by cooking the books.

After a public trial, a jury found Skilling guilty in 2006 of 19 criminal counts stemming from the company's collapse.

The federal appeals court in New Orleans dismissed Skilling's arguments on appeal, including jury bias and prosecutorial misconduct.

"Skilling failed to demonstrate that the government's case rested on an incorrect theory of law or that any reversible errors infected his trial," Judge Prado wrote.

But the court granted Skilling's request for resentencing, saying the lower court had incorrectly applied an enhancement for substantially jeopardizing a "financial institution."

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.