The 12-member jury, weighing the criminal fraud and conspiracy charges against Enron Corp. founder Ken Lay and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, began its deliberations on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake delivered instructions to the eight women and four men on the active jury panel before listening to closing arguments. Among Lake's instructions was one that will allow the jury to consider "willful blindness." The instruction allows jurors to convict if they believe Skilling or Lay intentionally shielded themselves from information they knew could be explosive.

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