January 16, 2004
Can we talk?

With the Fastows in the bag, Kenny Boy Lay is looking to cover his hiney by getting out in front of the Enron story.

"He'll be talking soon," attorney Mike Ramsey said during a news conference he called to discuss Lay's reaction to Andrew Fastow's plea bargain.

Lay wants to express "the sense of betrayal that he feels relative to what occurred yesterday," Ramsey said, referring to Wednesday's court action.

Other than professing sadness about what happened, Lay has not publicly addressed the Enron matter. However, he's getting "restless" and wants to discuss the matter, the attorney said.

"I don't blame him," Ramsey added.

It's been nearly 2.5 years since Enron imploded into a pile of shredded memos and bogus transactions, and he's restless now? We will self-serve no whine before its time, I guess.

Ramsey reiterated Thursday that he doesn't believe any criminal charges will be filed against Lay, despite his being the subject of an ongoing inquiry since the company's collapse.

Lay's public discussion of what occurred at Enron likely will begin with a "white paper," or a newspaper opinion piece, his attorney said.

The move appears to be part of a well-thought-out strategy by Lay's defense lawyers, former federal prosecutor Jacob Frenkel of Washington, D.C., said Thursday.

"Ken Lay's defense team, unlike counsel for some other high-profile defendants caught in the corporate fraud net, have so far adopted a textbook defense strategy," said Frenkel, now a defense attorney. "This is not a team that is likely to make a sloppy mistake at the 11th hour. So a decision to go forward with a white paper or whatever is certainly a well-planned and calculated move, in all likelihood to further distance Ken Lay from Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow."

Translation: Lay is going to go on a charm offensive designed to make him seem if not warm and cuddly then at least not sinister and conniving, in the hopes that whatever jury he may eventually face has a smidgen of sympathy for him.

Ramsey said Thursday that Lay and the board had no way to know the company was being looted. Lay himself lost hundreds of millions of dollars, he said.

As noted before, the clueless-not-criminal defense does have some plausibility to it. Whistleblower Sherron Watkins also notes that Jeff Skilling thought Lay was clueless. I still don't understand how Lay and the board could not have known what was going on. What's the point of even having a board of directors if they're that shielded or deluded?

Meanwhile, Jeff Skilling, Darth Vader to Lay's Emperor Palpatine, shouldn't be making any long term plans at this time.

Defense attorneys involved in the Enron cases have expected for months that Skilling, 50, eventually would be charged. That could happen within weeks, sources close to the case say, now that prosecutors have secured the testimony of Andrew Fastow, who pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

Testimony from the former chief financial officer will help in several prosecutions but his main value is what he can say about Skilling and former Enron Chairman Ken Lay.

Though Lay will undoubtedly be vigorously investigated now that Fastow is in the government camp, insiders say it's Skilling who seems most immediately in peril.

I await further news with bated breath.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 16, 2004 to Enronarama | TrackBack

>Jeff Skilling, Darth Vader to Lay's Emperor

Or would that be Jeff Skilling, Senator Palpatine to Lay's Jar Jar Binks...?

Posted by: rvman on January 21, 2004 4:02 PM