Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling has asked a federal judge to throw out his May conviction on fraud and conspiracy charges.Skilling, 52, was found guilty on 19 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors in the investigation following Enron’s collapse. He faces 20 to 30 years in prison for the charges and will be sentenced on Oct. 23.
Citing a successful appeal in another Enron case, Skilling joined other convicted Enron executives in asking Judge Sim Lake to void his guilty verdict. The request was filed as part of a motion to remain free pending an appeal he plans to file after his sentencing.
Skilling’s argument hinges on whether the jury’s decision relied on a prosecution argument that he has deprived Enron of “honest services.” Four executives for Enron’s broadband unit had their convictions overturned by a New Orleans court after arguing that the actions they took were made in the best interest of the company.
The jury did not explain how it reached its guilty verdict, but in Skilling’s case, prosecutors said in addition to the question of whether he defrauded Enron by withholding honest services, jurors could still find him guilty of deliberately deceiving investors.
The government has already asked the entire appeals court in New Orleans to review the honest-services issue and reinstate the convictions.
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