Washington (Sept. 8, 2004) -- Former Enron chairman and chief executive Kenneth Lay, who has who has asked for a speedy trial, again publicly declared his innocence and lamented that his indictment is largely political, this time on the pages of The Washington Post.

"Now, I know about politics. I have been active for years and I ask neither sympathy nor special treatment. But justice is a different issue," Lay wrote in an opinion piece published by the Post last week. "The tragic circumstances surrounding the collapse of Enron and the harm it caused to so many victims is something I will take to my grave. My inability to save Enron is one of my greatest regrets. But I am guilty of no crime and eager to prove my innocence. Our Constitution guarantees justice and a speedy trial. Yet, without the agreement of the president's task force, as hard as I may try, I may not be granted either.”

"The legal case against me, standing alone, is a flimsy, hollow shell and reeks of politics," wrote Lay, who was indicted July 8 on 11 criminal counts for his role in Enron's collapse.

He has asked for his case to be severed from those of former Enron executives Jeffrey Skilling, who served as president and chief operating officer and later as CEO, and former chief accounting officer Richard A. Causey.

In making the case for having his trial separated from those of Skilling and Causey, Lay wrote, "The other two men have not asked for a speedy trial or offered to forgo discovery or waive a jury trial. Only three of the 11 charges against me overlap with the 45 charges against them. The Enron-related charges against me cover only a 47-day period just before Enron's collapse, while charges against the other two cover a two-year period beginning in 1999."

He continued, "Moreover, four of the 11 charges against me had nothing to do with Enron; they deal with an obscure 1934 banking regulation (known as ‘Reg U’) that, as far as my lawyers can determine, has been used only once previously as the basis for a criminal charge."

-- WebCPA staff

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