Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of bankrupt energy trader Enron Corp., testified that he was "absolutely innocent" during his trial here on fraud and conspiracy charges.
''I will fight those charges until the day I die,'' Skilling said under questioning from his attorney.

Skilling, 52, is charged with 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors, while former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay is charged with six counts of fraud and conspiracy. Both are also charged with lying to investors about the true financial picture of the company.

Prosecutors have shaped their case that Skilling and Lay were the masterminds behind the fraudulent accounting practices and off-balance-sheet partnerships backed by company stock that ultimately forced the company to report billions in losses and file bankruptcy in December 2001.

The trial of Skilling and Lay is currently in its 11th week.

Skilling also testified that he never considered making a deal with prosecutors, although roughly a dozen of his former colleagues have done so.

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