In a move that wasn’t unexpected, a judge vacated the conspiracy and fraud conviction against the late founder and former chairman of Enron Corp., Ken Lay.U.S. District Judge Sim Lake also granted the request by Lay's estate to dismiss the indictment used to bring Lay to trial. Lay died of a heart attack in early July, less than two months after a jury convicted him on six charges of conspiracy and fraud and Lake found him guilty on four charges of bank fraud.

Lake’s decision had been anticipated given legal precedent, under which verdicts are typically vacated when a defendant dies and is unable to exhaust their appeals. However, though the federal charges again Lay have been dropped, civil lawsuits against Lay's estate could still continue. Just last month, his estate agreed to pay $12 million to settle claims brought by participants in the failed energy company's pension plans.

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