Hope everyone who celebrated Christmas yesterday had a good one. The one piece of news from the day was this story about former Enron chief accounting officer Rick Causey talking to the feds about possibly taking a plea.
Causey has been in plea talks in the past, so it would not be a surprise to anyone should he reach an agreement with the government, said Kent Schaffer, a Houston defense attorney who has followed the case. A plea deal is unlikely to postpone the trial.
"Typically a defendant pleading out won't be grounds for other defendants to delay the trial, especially in a case like this where it was no secret negotiations would go on intermittently," Schaffer said.
"I've talked to Rick Causey myself, and I don't believe he willfully did anything wrong," said Mike Ramsey, lead attorney for Lay. "I don't believe he would agree to plead guilty to a crime when he didn't commit one."
Skilling attorney Daniel Petrocelli also cast doubt on a Causey plea.
"Over the past year, I've spent a lot of time with Rick Causey. He is an honest man and consummate professional, who worked his heart out for Enron," Petrocelli said. "He never — let me repeat — never committed any fraud or criminal conduct of any kind. He knows it, and the government knows it."
Causey's name is first on the indictment at the center of next month's trial but last on the minds of most people. As chief accounting officer he lacked the status — and the salary — of former CEO Skilling or former Chairman Lay.
But he is an essential link between the government's likely star witness, former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, and the other two executives.
Causey and Fastow worked closely together, dividing between them the oversight of key financial and accounting operations at the energy giant.