Skip to comments.Lay's death could set Skilling free
Posted on 07/07/2006 5:13:03 PM PDT by Sunshine55
Lawyers likely to argue that entire case has effectively been voided
WASHINGTON -- Kenneth Lay's sudden death could prove to be an unexpected legal bequest to Jeffrey Skilling, his co-defendant in the landmark Enron Corp. fraud case.
Mr. Skilling's legal team will almost certainly invoke Mr. Lay's demise to try to reverse his own fraud and conspiracy conviction or demand a retrial, legal experts said yesterday.
That's because Mr. Lay's death Wednesday of an apparent heart attack effectively voids the entire case against the Enron founder, including the guilty verdict. Mr. Skilling, the former Enron chief executive officer who is appealing his own conviction, could now argue that much of the evidence against him stems from a case that no longer exists, argued lawyer Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor and white collar crime specialist.
"This is the first time this has happened in such a high profile case," Mr. Frenkel said. "Everybody is scrambling to see what the law says on this."
How it all plays out could set a legal precedent, he added.
(Excerpt) Read more at theglobeandmail.com ...
Well, that was the Supreme Court back in 1971. I think the makeup is a little different now. I wonder what the decision would be if it were to be reaccepted.
I agree. She was the one who orchestrated much of this mess behind the scenes.
Andy Fastow was just the mouthpiece who smoozed.
The conviction of Lay is expunged from the record.
That part is correct - based on a prior 5th Circuit court case, a defendant who dies with his initial conviction on appeal is presumed to have won the appeal and thus all charges are dismissed.
Thus with the Lay case the Feds will be unable to seize any of his remaining assets - likewise 50% of those now go to his wife and are further protected from judgement.
Set precedent !
This looks like nothing more than an empty ploy. If anything, Jeffrey Skilling was more guilty than Kenneth Lay was.
What a load of CRAP. Applying the same logic, if a murderer is found guilty and the witness against him dies after the fact, does that mean the conviction should be overturned???
That Karl Rove is so brilliant.... twisting justice on it's ear before the Dems can make hay of Lay's sentencing... /sarc
The conviction wasn't on appeal yet - neither Lay's nor Skilling's. Sentenving was to take place on September 11th (not a random choice) but both attorneys went to court and after the hearing on June 18th, which I had missed knowing about until Lay died, it was delayed to October 23rd.
Apparently, after so many legal pundits chiming in on this the past couple of days, appeals can't start until the sentence is pronounced.
Skilling, his wife and attorney are going to Aspen for the weekend, for Lay's memorial service, then coming back to Houston for the memorial service here next week.
Of course, Skilling has been saying in court he needs his assets unfrozen so he can pay child support.
Although I practice law, I don't do any criminal defense work. Nevertheless, it makes sense to me that the criminal case goes away when the defendant dies. What can be done to the guy now? What is the purpose of a criminal prosecution? I thought it was to determine guilt and then administer an appropriate punishment so as to deter future criminal actions. I think Lay can be considered deterred. And you can't punish him, so what is the point? His estate can still be sued. THAT I do know something about.
Not from a civil judgment, just from criminal forfeiture. There is still more to come.
Most of the first legal voices on this said it won't affect Skilling's October 23 sentencing date on his conviction at all - even though they were tried together.
Now that it's two days later, the defense attorneys have cooked something up, so the media outlets are giving them some play.
The problem is that there was a matter of a criminal forfeiture associated with the conviction, in the amount of $43+ million. More than a few people are unhappy about that just "going away."
Lay had lied to the court about his assets, saying he was $-250,000 in the hole. However, there was at least $6+ million in cash and other equivalents totalling $9 million just lying around. There are other assets not quite as liquid - some RE and accounts unknown offshore.
His wife is taken care of with insurance and annuities around $30 million, so no one is taking any food out of her mouth, although she thinks she's broke.
Then there is the large debt of $20+ million owed to this round of attorneys, but I believe that was accounted for before the reported brokerage account.
As I understand it Lay had assets of approx 9 million left and about the same amount in debt. His assets were close to 400 million when all this started going bad. He lost most of it as the stock tumbled along with everyone else. There is a 10 million life insurance policy which his wife will recieve that can't be considered part of the estate or ill gotten gains. I heard all this from a c-span program that also said that Lay's death would neither hurt nor help Skilling.
[His wife is taken care of with insurance and annuities around $30 million, so no one is taking any food out of her mouth, although she thinks she's broke.]
Mrs. Lay knows she's not broke. I remember her on TV (Diane Sawyer I think) shortly after the Enron scandal started, claiming that they had "lost everything" and had no money. It was disgusting.
the wife will make herself "judgement proof" - like OJ Simpson did.
A high-ranking republican said yesterday that Lay was a good guy.
The interviewer was named Lisa *something*. I remember it well. Boo hoo. I don't know a soul, even many who still defend the Lays, who wasn't turned off, one way or another by her performance. And that was with counsel of a seasoned PR professional having coached her!
Then she opened a little boutique shop selling off all their used furniture and continued to act even more pitiful. The River Oaks ladies in the neighborhood helped her out. Then, one day, it was just *poof* gone.
That part I mentioned already is. The rest will be up for grabs, whatever "rest" there is to find. Depending on how much she wants to spend on attorneys, I imagine she will fight tooth and nail for every last penny - unless it costs too much.
Then again, some shyster may talk her into a wrongful death suit against the Feds or the SEC. Ha! I actually saw two reporters Wednesday stick a mike in front of a sweet little 20something girl who had been a juror in the trial and ask her if she felt responsible for Lay's death!