Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lay's death could set Skilling free

So says the headline of this article. From Barrie McKenna's story:

Kenneth Lay's sudden death could prove to be an unexpected legal bequest to Jeffrey Skilling, his co-defendant in the landmark Enron Corp. fraud case.

Mr. Skilling's legal team will almost certainly invoke Mr. Lay's demise to try to reverse his own fraud and conspiracy conviction or demand a retrial, legal experts said yesterday.

That's because Mr. Lay's death Wednesday of an apparent heart attack effectively voids the entire case against the Enron founder, including the guilty verdict. Mr. Skilling, the former Enron chief executive officer who is appealing his own conviction, could now argue that much of the evidence against him stems from a case that no longer exists, argued lawyer Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor and white collar crime specialist.

I am not exactly following the ins and outs of this Enron case, but I wonder if this kind of thing will add fuel to the fires of the recent "Ken is not dead" conspiracy theories. Ken Lay could become the next Elvis - "Yeah, I just saw him walking through the street in Gstaad".