As expected, lawyers for Kenneth Lay, who died of a heart attack in early July, have filed a motion to throw out his fraud conviction in connection with the downfall of the company he founded, energy giant Enron Corp.

"Despite what may have been proven at trial, the trial is deemed not to have taken place," wrote Ropes & Gray attorney Samuel J. Buffone, in a motion filed in federal court in Houston. "Thus, at least in the eyes of the criminal court, the defendant is no longer a wrongdoer and has not defrauded or damaged anyone."

The request comes under a federal law that allows a criminal indictment and conviction to be thrown out if the person dies before exhausting their appeals.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it plans to oppose the motion, saying that it is "committed to pursuing all available legal remedies to reclaiming for victims the proceeds of crimes committed by Ken Lay." The government has 20 days to respond to the request officially.

Lay, 64, died July 5, a little more than a month after being convicted of for his role leading up to Enron's December 2001.

Earlier this week, in a court filing, federal prosecutors filed a motion to hold former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling liable for all criminal "proceeds attributable to all co-conspirators, indicted or unindicted" -- including those of Lay. S killing was convicted of 19 counts of Enron-related fraud, conspiracy and insider trading at the same trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 23, but plans to appeal.

Both men are defendants in a class-action suit brought by Enron shareholders and employees, which is scheduled to go to trial in April 2007.

Previously on WebCPA:

Feds May Try to Stick Skilling with Lay's Tab (Aug. 16, 2006)

Lay Autopsy Reveals Major Artery Blockage (July 21, 2006)

Enron's Kenneth Lay Dead at 64 (July 6, 2006)

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access