Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling is appealing his
conviction for the role he played in the collapse of the former US energy giant.
Skilling’s attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, filed a motion
in the US Court of Appeals on Friday, almost a year after his client was ordered
to serve more than 24 years in prison.
In May last year, Skilling and Enron chairman Kenneth Lay were convicted of
fraud. However, Lay died a month later of a heart attack, removing his
conviction and indictment from the record.
Skilling’s 200-page appeal now questions court proceedings of May last year,
which led a jury to convict Skilling of 19 counts of fraud as well as insider
trading and conspiracy.
Petrocelli also took the opportunity to criticise the way in which district
judge Sim Lake presided over the case, the sentence length and the actions of
prosecutors. He said that weaknesses in the case prompted the government to
‘resort to novel and incorrect legal theories, demand truncated and unfair trial
procedures, and use coercive and abusive tactics.’
The court papers further try to defer any blame on Skilling’s part to that of
the former CFO, Andrew Fastow,
Petrocelli attacked prosecutors who interpreted Skilling’s failure to ensure
the accuracy of financial statements as an indication that he had stolen from
the company. He argued that it was Fastow who admitted to stealing money from
Enron and that Skilling had not.
Skilling is serving his time in a federal prison in Waseca, Minnesota, while
Fastow – who took a plea deal – is serving a six-year sentence in Louisiana.
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