Enron Defendants Want Venue Change After Plea Bargain


This past fall, 400 potential Houston-area jurors answered lengthy questionnaires about their attitudes toward three former Enron executives then scheduled to go to trial this month, says the Houston Chronicle. With defendant Richard Causey’s decision to plead guilty, will those potential jurors change their attitudes toward the remaining two? Attorneys for Jeff Skilling or Ken Lay say that Causey’s name was all over the questionnaires, they note, meaning in jurors’ minds his admission of guilt could bleed over onto the other two. The Chronicle says the Causey plea deal is not going to give the defendants what they have sought: a trial in another city. “Any such motion would almost certainly be denied,” said Doug Keene, an Austin-based jury consultant. “We’ve already had all the other Enron trials in Houston. If this was something the court was going to consider, it would have happened before the Causey issue came up.”

Causey, who faced 36 counts including fraud and money laundering, pleaded guilty to one securities-fraud charge in exchange for a seven-year prison term that could be reduced to five. He is expected to help the government with the trial, which has been moved to Jan. 30. Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling’s lead lawyer, said questionnaire responses “reaffirm that the Houston jury pool is deeply infected with pervasive and irreversible bias against the defendants.” Petrocelli has asked that the case be moved to Denver, Atlanta or another city because Houston “has an emotional, sociological, and financial stake in the outcome of the case and has presumed Mr. Skilling to be guilty unless proven innocent.”

Link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3558386.html

Comments are closed.