Court Limits “Honest Services” Law; Enron Conviction In Doubt


A divided Supreme Court today sided with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling in limiting the use of a federal fraud law that has been a favorite of white-collar crime prosecutors, reports the Associated Press. The court said the federal “honest services” law could not be used in convicting Skilling for his role in the collapse of Enron. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her majority opinion that the ruling does not necessarily require Skilling’s conviction to be overturned.

During arguments in the case, several justices seemed inclined to limit prosecutors’ use of this law, which critics say is vague and has been used to make a crime out of mistakes and minor transgressions in the business and political world. says that only three justices would declare the “honest services” law unconstitutional: Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas.

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