[Again, it was written over a year ago.]
During the ordinary course of my Enron googlings, I found this Guardian article about the NatWest Three, dated Monday, August 6, 2007. The NatWest Three – David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew – are all former NatWest bankers who have been accused of doing a dirty deal with Enron, and profiting from that deal. In 2006, they were extradited to the US to face trial for illegally profiting to the tune of $7.3M. As usual, no evidence exists to prove that the three did anything wrong at all. And as the Guardian story recounts, the NatWest Three had great difficulty in getting any witnesses to speak on their behalf because the prosecutors were using the exact same strategy against them as they were against Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay. They silenced witnesses with threats of arrest (or indictment). And exactly like in the case of Skilling and Lay, virtually no witnesses were willing to step up and face that kind of pressure to defend their friends and coworkers.
The only defendants who have had any luck in witnesses defying the prosecution are the Broadband executives. In that case, five former executives were fortunate enough to have witnesses come forward, despite being labeled unindicted co-conspirators, and despite repeated threats from prosecutors not to testify on behalf of the five Broadband defendants. Several other also risked themselves, their families and their very freedom to tell the truth about Enron Broadband Services.
But, oddly, that was the only Enron trial where such courage was commonplace.
Again, the obvious question presents itself: is this the best path to justice? Is this a valid way to determine if something untoward or illegal really occurred? Silencing witnesses doesn’t sound like the most noble way of acquiring a conviction. But where Enron is concerned, nothing about the DOJ is noble.