February 02, 2006
Enron trial: One thing to keep in mind

We're on day two of the prosecution's case, and if we've learned anything from yesterday's testimony by Mark Koenig, it's that this trial is going to be wicked long. Basically, the Princess Bride/Good Parts Version of the story will begin when Fast Andy Fastow takes his nothing-but-the-truth vow. Tom Kirkendall explains why this may be a problem for the Feds.

If you read one thing related to the Enron trial today, I recommend it be this blog post by defense attorney/color commentator Kent Schaffer about those who pled out and will testify for the state. I don't doubt for a minute that many bad things happened at Enron. I think the defense "run on the bank" strategy is hooey; plenty of companies overstate earnings or understate losses and get their stock hammered as a result but stay in business. I don't think anyone questions Fastow's criminality, and whether or not Skilling or Lay knew about it they damn well should have. They, their cronies, and if there's any justice in this world the entire Board of Directors should spend the rest of their lives fending off civil judgments because of their venality, greed, and incompetence.

But that doesn't mean that Skilling and Lay broke the law. Maybe that's an indictment of the law, but it concerns me when I see progressives leading a pitchfork and torch brigade to a courthouse. I'm sure I've been guilty of this myself. It's easy to get caught up in that in a case like this. Still, Skilling and Lay may be reprehensible people, but that doesn't lower the government's burden of proof and it doesn't mean the government might not have strongarmed a few confessions from risk-averse or financially strapped Enronites. As with all defendants, I want these guys to get a fair, thorough, and by-the-book trial so that when the verdict is read, we can all feel confident in whatever it is. And I want Fastow's testimony to come sooner rather than later. Too bad I can't TiVo this thing and skip forward to it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2006 to Enronarama | TrackBack