Jury selection has begun for the first actual Enron-related trial, known as the "Nigerian Barge" case.
The six people defending themselves in the case over the sale of Nigerian barges will not include high-profile names like ex-Enron Chairman Ken Lay or ex-CEO Jeff Skilling.
The first Enron employees to face a jury are former midlevel workers Dan Boyle and Sheila Kahanek. They will be tried on conspiracy and fraud charges, along with four former bankers from Merrill Lynch — James A. Brown, Daniel Bayly, William Fuhs and Robert Furst. All six say they are innocent.
A jury is likely to be chosen today before U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein.
A lot is on the line for the defendants, but prosecutors could forfeit a lot of credibility if they lose this case. It is seen as one of the most understandable in the world of Enron's Byzantine financial machinations.
"This is the first acid test for the government," said Robert Mintz , a New Jersey-based attorney and former federal prosecutor who has followed the case. "Prosecutors will trot out their stable of cooperating witnesses, and the lawyers for all the defendants awaiting trial will be watching closely to see how well they do and how well the defense attorneys can question them."