Missed this earlier in the week, but as always Tom was on top of it: The defense team for Jeff Skilling, Rick Causey, and Kenny Boy Lay have filed a motion to dismiss all charges on grounds of prosecutorial intimidation of defense witnesses.
Actions of the Enron Task Force have deprived Lay, Skilling and Causey "of their constitutional rights both to secure and confront witnesses, thereby stripping defendants of their ability fully and fairly to prepare for and defend themselves at trial. Put simply, witnesses are afraid to talk to us," the request stated.
A redacted version of the request made of U.S. District Judge Sim Lake was made public today, though the lawyers filed the originally sealed motion last week. Some of the key evidence cited in this motion has not been made public.
The motion refers to an e-mail from a task force member telling a lawyer for a cooperating government witness to stop talking to Skilling's lawyer or "get rid" of him. The judge has viewed that e-mail and has so far barred the lawyers from revealing its full content.
According to the motion, those attorney affidavits state the lawyers or their clients were told by the government that Skilling's and Lay's lawyers were "bad news," and their clients would "pay" or the government would "go after" them if they cooperated with the defendants.
One lawyer allegedly says the Enron Task Force made a "veiled threat" to an attorney about it being "dangerous" for his client to help Enron defendants. Prosecutorial misconduct has been a common complaint from the defense lawyers in this case.
Prosecutors are not allowed to comment on the case while it's ongoing.
Lake said last week that he thinks there is a problem that many witnesses in the case at least perceive a threat from the government's Enron Task Force. But the judge said he had "not made any finding that the government has engaged in any illegal activity."
Lake last week asked the lawyers to agree on a way he could counsel witnesses that they are free to aid the defendants should they wish to do so.
He said he would be willing to have them come to court and hear it from the judge himself.
Tom has provided a copy of the motion to dismiss for anyone who might like to download and read it. There's more in his post and in his followup on the Lake Letters, and also in this WaPo story. Finally, Stace weighs in as well.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 09, 2005 to Enronarama | TrackBack