January 07, 2009
Skilling to get a new sentence

Some good news, but mostly not-so-good news for Jeff Skilling.

An appeals court today upheld former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling's 19 federal felony convictions, but ordered a trial court to resentence him.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans sided with the government, ruling that a theory of guilt that backfired in other Enron cases didn't taint Skilling's convictions. But the court said U.S. District Judge Sim Lake improperly boosted part of Skilling's 24-year punishment under federal sentencing guidelines.

Without the specific sentence enhancement deemed improper by the panel, Skilling would face a sentence ranging from more than 15 years to more than 19 -- a reduction anywhere from five years to nearly a decade, said Brian Wice, a Houston attorney and expert in appeals.

Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling's attorney, said today they will continue to fight, whether it starts with a request that the entire 5th Circuit hear the case or an appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"There are more battles to fight and we will fight them," he said.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich, said the Justice Department is "gratified" by the decision.

"Today's ruling is a victory for all those harmed by Jeff Skilling and his co-conspirators," Friedrich said. "Skilling was an architect of the crimes that caused Enron's collapse, the fallout of which is still being felt today."

Petrocelli said Skilling, who is imprisoned in suburban Denver, was disappointed, but committed to fighting on.

"This is a big setback," Petrocelli said. "He had his hopes pinned on winning this appeal, and we just have to fight in a different venue."

Would that include asking for a pardon? Time's running out on that front, I would imagine.

I don't really have an opinion on this one way or the other. I think Skilling was convicted fair and square, and I don't have much sympathy for him. Loren Steffy has more, while Tom has a contrary view.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 07, 2009 to Enronarama
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