Skilling Appeal Outcome Could Affect White-Collar Cases


Almost seven years after energy giant Enron collapsed, a series of court decisions has opened the door to new trials for some convicted corporate executives and threatened to hobble the Justice Department’s efforts to pursue corporate-fraud cases, McClatchy Newspapers report. Legal experts said the government’s recent setbacks in court raised troubling questions about how federal prosecutors handled high-profile cases and suggested that the Justice Department could face serious obstacles in other white-collar investigations

Four former executives from Enron Broadband Services are getting another trial after a federal jury acquitted them on some charges and deadlocked on the rest. Three Merrill Lynch executives are being retried after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed most of their convictions. Prosecutors are under fire in the conviction of former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling because of allegations that they withheld evidence that could have cleared him. “Skilling is kind of the linchpin,” said Peter J. Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and a former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney. “If his conviction stands, the Enron prosecutions were a success. If it doesn’t, prosecutors will have a hard time convincing the public that they took the right approach.”


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