March 16, 2004
Light sentence for Lea Fastow

The Enron federal prosecutors have asked the judge to give Lea Fastow a five-month sentence as they had promised in return for hubby Andy's testimony.

Enron Task Force prosecutors Linda Lacewell and Andrew Weissmann filed objections to the pre-sentence investigation of Lea Fastow showing how much prosecutors want U.S. District Judge David Hittner to follow the agreed plea bargain.

They list several reasons, including how many millions of dollars the couple forfeited and that her ex-CFO husband has helped them indict two top officials and can help further.

The government says the argument for Lea Fastow's agreed sentence is "strengthened by the fact that ... (she) played an integral role in her husband's decision to plead guilty and cooperate with the government in this ongoing investigation."

Hittner has indicated he may be reluctant to follow the plea bargain.

If he offers Lea Fastow a sentence stiffer than the five months in prison, she may decline, withdraw her guilty plea and ask to go to trial. Her husband cannot get out of his corresponding agreement to cooperate, but the reality of a trial for his wife could obviously dampen his zeal to cooperate.

Apparently, the pre-sentence report is recommending a 10- to 16-month sentence for Lea, not exactly hard time but not what she and the prosecutors agreed to, either.

The prosecutors state that since mid-January when the couple entered guilty pleas to several charges, Andrew Fastow's cooperation has helped lead to the indictment of ex-Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and ex-top accounting officer Rick Causey.

"These are significant advances in the investigation to identify and bring to justice those responsible for perhaps the largest fraud in United States history. Moreover, Andrew Fastow's cooperation is ongoing and is likely to bear additional fruit," the prosecutors say.

Prosecutors have recently stepped up their investigation of ex-Enron Chairman Ken Lay, and it is likely Fastow's testimony may shed light on that possible case as well. Lay has not been charged with any crimes and has maintained that he did nothing wrong. Skilling and Causey have also maintained their innocence.

If that doesn't get your blood pumping, nothing will. I hope Judge Hittner doesn't queer the deal.

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