August 12, 2004
Kenny and Jeff, together again

Kenny Boy Lay and Jeff Skilling made their first joint appearance in awhile, in court.

Former Enron Chairman Ken Lay won't get his requested September trial date.

Lay and his former second-in-command Jeff Skilling were in federal court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing. It was the first time the two had appeared together to face their multiple criminal charges, and when Lay entered the court he winked at Skilling, who smiled back.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake did not set a trial date for Lay, Skilling and their co-defendant ex-Chief Accounting Officer Rick Causey. Instead, the judge asked the three to make all their arguments about why each wants to be tried separately and said he will likely rule on that by early October.

"It's too soon to set this case for trial. We're dealing with what could be life sentences here," Lake said. He said the case is extraordinarily complex. But the judge also noted Lay deserves the quick trial he has requested.

Lay has asked that he be tried alone, and the other two said they will do so. It is common for conspiracy defendants to ask to be separated, and often they are unsuccessful.

Lay wants a quick trial, but Skilling and Causey don't.

While Lay wants a trial in the next few months, prosecutors have asked for one trial for all three defendants in March 2005.

And Skilling and Causey want the trial a year after that, in March 2006, if not later.

One of the big differences between the Lay approach and that of his two co-defendants is that Lay's charges focus on only a few months of his reign right before Enron's bankruptcy while the other two face charges that focus on a variety of activities over several years.

Lawyers for Skilling and Causey have complained that the volume of documents and possible evidence they have to sift through is massive, and it's the reason they need another year before going to trial.

They have also complained that the government has not pointed out documents that could help the defendants.

The fun is just beginning. I'd almost prefer to see Lay's trial severed from Skilling and Causey's just because having all three of them go at it at once might be too much concentrated excitement. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 12, 2004 to Enronarama | TrackBack

I'd like Lay to have an earlier court date just because I think he can shed some real light on VP Cheney's secret energy program - remember that Ken Lay sat on the committee.

Good bargaining point, I'd say. And the sooner, the better.

Posted by: penney on August 12, 2004 9:02 AM