From today's Chron:
Lea Fastow, the wife of ex-Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, is in negotiations with prosecutors for a plea bargain that could send her to federal prison for five months or more.
She could appear in court as early as next week to agree to, and possibly begin, a prison term, sources said.
If she were to accept a plea bargain of five months in prison and be immediately incarcerated, she could be home to take care of their children around the time her husband's trial begins April 20, 2004.
A family friend said Lea Fastow is willing to consider pleading guilty and forgoing a chance to tell her side to a jury because it would be better for her two small children and could ensure they would not be without a parent at home. "It's a matter of willing to risk less when it's for her children than she would risk if it were just for herself," the friend said.
Lea Fastow's attorneys have alleged she was charged only to squeeze her husband into pleading guilty and cooperating with the government, perhaps to help prosecutors charge those above him on the corporate ladder: former Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling and former Chairman Ken Lay.
Most attorneys involved or closely watching the case said Thursday that the plea bargain is probably being offered because prosecutors believe the squeeze play did not work. A few thought Lea Fastow may be pleading because it did work and Andrew Fastow will hammer out a plea bargain as well. Andrew Fastow's lawyer David Gerger could not be reached for comment Thursday.
It is unlikely Lea Fastow would be cooperating to help the government convict her husband. But the law states that if discussions between husband and wife are part of a crime, such as a conspiracy to commit fraud, the couple does not have the protection of marital privilege for communication about the conspiracy. In a situation where both participated in a conspiracy, even if only one spouse is charged, the other, if given immunity, might choose to testify about their conversations.