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On Kenny Boy’s public relations strategy

The Chron discusses Kenny Boy’s PR offensive.

Prosecutors have started using Ken Lay’s public statements against him in legal filings, leading some experts to suggest the former Enron chairman keep quiet while others insist he should just keep on talking.

Since his July indictment, Lay has mounted an aggressive public relations campaign, starting with a news conference just hours after he was cuffed and appeared in court. He followed that with print and TV interviews, an Opinion piece in the Washington Post and Houston Chronicle and his own Web site.


Dan Hedges, a defense attorney and the former U.S. Attorney for the Houston area, said two likely intended audiences for Lay’s comments — the Justice Department and the judge — would be unswayed and annoyed by the PR campaign.

“I think Lay’s strategy is backfiring,” Hedges said. “He stuck his finger in (the prosecutors’) eye and now they will stick him back.”

Hedges said if Lay has misstated or overstated anything at all in his press pronouncements, it could come back to haunt him if he takes the stand.

Not surprisingly, Lay’s lawyer disagrees. “I guess what Ken has said is beginning to sting. I view what the government put in their (legal memo) as whining,” said Mike Ramsey, Lay’s Houston-based lead trial lawyer.


Criminal defense experts who say Lay should quiet down say there are two areas the government could use at trial.

One is that Lay argues he didn’t know about what was going wrong at Enron, but in his post-indictment persona he appears to be not out of the loop but totally in control of his case.

A second possibility is that the government will try to show Lay exaggerated or made a false statement about anything. In that case, the lawyers say, prosecutors might argue that Lay is accused of making false public statements to help himself at Enron and he did it again after his indictment.

“Ken Lay has a shot at acquittal in this community,” said Houston-based attorney David Berg.

“But if he keeps talking, he’s going to wind up eating some of his words. All he needs is a misstatement and he’s handing the prosecutors a huge weapon.” Berg said prosecutors now probably “go to sleep dreaming of cross-examining Ken Lay.”

For what it’s worth, I think he should keep his mouth shut. I don’t think he’s going to sway the media narrative in his favor, and I don’t think many people who hear about his efforts to explain himself will see it as anything but self-serving. I admit, I don’t like the guy, so maybe I’m the one who’s wrong here. All I’m saying is that Harris County is not particularly defense-friendly to begin with, and we don’t much care for whining. I think he’s best off waiting until they’re in court to convince jurors that what they think they know about him is wrong, but hey, I’m not the one getting paid $400/hour (or whatever) to make these decisions.

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One Comment

  1. Pete says:

    But, he found Jesus, right?

    Not guilty.