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The Enron jury

Just filing this for future reference.

Conversations with panelists who sat in judgment of Lay and fellow former Enron executive Jeff Skilling revealed a spiritual group of Texans who went into the jury room teetering back and forth and came out confident the two prominent Houstonians broke the law.

[…]

Once the group chose human resources professional Deborah Smith as forewoman, Delgado, principal at Golfcrest Elementary in southeast Houston, said it tried to get organized.

“We went to the indictment and to the jury instructions. We had to understand what our task ahead was, understand what we had to accomplish,” said Delgado, taking a break from checking teachers out of the school for the summer.

Wendy Vaughan, a Katy roofing supplier and fitness company owner, said the group began plowing “diligently through every single count.”

“We were really just ironing out places where there may be reasonable doubt,” said Vaughan, 38.

[…]

The prospect of sending another human being to possible lengthy confinement was troubling, some jurors said, but not enough to skew deliberations, said Fernandez, 43.

“With me working in the (court) system, I told them, ‘If any of y’all are thinking about punishment, that’s not our duty at this time. Our duty at this time is guilt and innocence.’ ”

Jurors interviewed generally agreed the evidence and testimony of others ultimately overpowered the testimony of Lay and Skilling.

[…]

Multiple jurors named former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan Jr. and former investor relations chief Mark Koenig as the government’s most effective weapons.

Glisan, who calmly pinned Enron’s woes on misdeeds by Lay and Skilling, particularly impressed Delgado.

“He was the only witness who, when he was testifying, looked directly at Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay,” Delgado said. “He never took his eyes off of them.”

Meanwhile, former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow’s past behavior repulsed a few in the jury box.

“When you get your children involved in a scandal,” Delgado said, clearly annoyed as he recalled how Fastow funneled money through his family and allowed his wife to serve a yearlong federal sentence on a tax charge without intervening. “We knew he wasn’t credible one way or the other.”

Lawyers on both sides scored high marks, with Skilling’s defense team led by Daniel Petrocelli drawing raves for his style, organization and approach.

“I think Mr. Petrocelli comes off as very charming. I was very impressed with his presentation,” said Vaughan, who added that Lay defense team leader Mike Ramsey’s absence because of surgery didn’t seem to have an adverse effect.

Fernandez said prosecutors did an “excellent” job.

“I was very impressed by (Enron Task Force leader Sean) Berkowitz, and I was impressed by John Hueston,” she said.

Personally, I get the impression of a group of people who did their best to evaluate the evidence and deliver honest verdicts. Which, frankly, is what I expected from the beginning. I have no opinion about many of the issues that will be raised on appeal, but the question of whether a fair trial was possible before Houston jurors or not is one that I believe should be immediately swatted down.

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