Former accountants from Arthur Andersen and a jailed Enron executive testified at the government's fraud and conspiracy trial of former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay and chief executive Jeffrey Skilling.
Much of the week was devoted to the testimony and cross-examination of Enron treasurer Ben Glisan Jr., the last major witness for the government. Glisan, 40, has already served more than two years of a five-year prison sentence for his role in the fraud after pleading guilty to conspiracy in late 2003.
A prolific note-taker, Glisan, in much of his testimony, directly rebutted statements Lay had made to investors, explaining the improper shifting of finances that occurred in the months before Enron declared bankruptcy and saying that Lay is lying about his knowledge of just how depleted the company's international assets were.
Outside the courthouse, Lay reportedly proclaimed his innocence to reporters and dismissed Glisan's testimony as lies. Glisan received his jail time for creating financial structures known as Raptors, which Enron used to hide losses. Defense lawyers for Lay and Skilling have attempted to undermine the credibility of other witnesses for the government, saying that much of the testimony has been offered as a ploy to receive lesser sentences.
With the trial now two months old, the week began with testimony from two accountants who were part of Arthur Andersen's Enron audit team, Thomas Bauer and J.R. Sult. Both men reviewed a number of documents in front of the jury, testifying that Enron tried to mislead them as the energy giant struggled to meet its Wall Street earnings forecasts. While none of the paper trail discussed was authored by either Lay or Skilling, prosecutors submitted letters signed by the two declaring that the information provided to Andersen for its annual audit was accurate.The defense teams are expected to begin presenting their evidence next week, and have said that Lay and Skilling plan to testify.
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