Reuters UK has filed a report detailing Jeff Skilling’s new plea for a new trial.
ailed former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling is seeking a new trial citing “newly discovered evidence,” according to court documents.
Skilling was convicted in 2006 on charges including conspiracy and securities fraud in relation to the 2001 collapse of the one-time energy trading giant Enron. The 58-year-old is now serving a 24-year jail term.
Skilling attorney Daniel Petrocelli has asked a judge for more time to file a “motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence”, according to court filings last week in Houston federal court.
The court papers did not detail the new evidence.
U.S. District Judge Sims Lake on Monday ordered a May 25 hearing on the motion.
Skilling as chief executive led Enron’s transformation from a sleepy natural gas pipeline company into a global energy trading powerhouse, which disintegrated in bankruptcy in 2001.
After Skilling was convicted, his case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which invalidated one theory underpinning the conspiracy conviction, and instructed an appeals court to review the case again.
But the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans later found any error committed by the trial judge was “harmless.”
The case is U.S. v. Skilling, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, No 04-0025.
This is great news, but I worry that by going in front of Judge Lake again, Skilling’s chances don’t look good. Lake was rather overtly hostile to Skilling during his original trial in 2006, granting prosecution motions and objections nearly 50% more often than defense motions and objections, being sarcastic at times, and ultimately refusing to consider even a five month reduction in Jeff’s outrageously severe sentence so that he might serve time in less restrictive prison.
His granting of the “financial institution” enhancement in the sentencing was corrected by the Fifth Circuit and that has to sting. So while Jeff is infinitely innocent and infinitely correct to ask for a new trial, the deck is stacked against him.
I do hope that I’m wrong.
It would be terrific if Judge Lake looked at the facts of the case with the benefit of hindsight (i.e. the collapse of both Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers) and seasons his judgement on the new trial with the certainty that the first one was a farce. My fingers are crossed.