Skilling May Get New Trial Over “Honest Services,” Not Jury Bias


Enron executive Jeff Skilling may get a new trial because of the vague federal “honest services” law but probably not because of juror bias over his highly-publicized case. So believes at least one expert quoted by the Houston Chronicle after Supreme Court arguments yesterday. “I’m not sure the court wants to grapple with what’s a high-profile case in each venue. They can still send a signal on the jury issue,” said Wayne State University law Prof. Peter Henning.

One of Skilling key arguments was that couldn’t be guaranteed an impartial jury in Houston given community sentiment after the fall of Enron. Skilling, who is in a suburban Denver prison, was found guilty in 2006 of 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading, and lying to auditors in connection with the 2001 fall of Enron. Because the court has heard two other cases this term on the honest services statute, experts expect the justices will try to clear up its meaning and possibly give Skilling a new trial.

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