Testimony from former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling factored heavily into the first full week of his defense team's case presentation. Skilling spent four full days on the stand, rebutting claims that he misled investors.
On the stand, Skilling repeatedly expressed sympathy for employees who lost their jobs and life savings in the company's collapse, but said that the only wrongdoing at Enron was from a few scheming subordinates. He testified that he believed Enron's side merchant and retail energy businesses -- the books of which prosecutors have said were manipulated to hide losses and debt belonging to the parent company -- were poised to move beyond their start-up phases to become successful ventures.
The defense is seeking to paint the company's collapse as being due to a market panic ignited by media reports. Skilling also testified that Enron was hurt by shortsellers, who benefit when a stock falls, saying that they orchestrated a campaign to spread misinformation about the company.
Skilling faces 28 criminal fraud and conspiracy charges and is on trial alongside former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay.
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