Judge sparks controversy in Enron trial

Link: Five months jail for wife of ex-Enron CFO

The judge in the case unexpectedly reversed his agreement to a plea deal by Lea Fastow that had been pivotal in persuading her husband, Enron’s chief financial officer at the time of the scandal, to co-operate with prosecutors.

Lea Fastow had pleaded guilty to one felony count on the understanding that a further five would be dropped, but Judge David Hittner announced, during a sentencing hearing, that he would not consider himself bound by the deal.

Lea Fastow withdrew her guilty plea following the judge’s decision, replacing an agreed ten-month sentence with uncertainty about her fate.

Both prosecution and defence were taken aback by the judge’s decision, The New York Times reported. A date for the trial, which will be the first Enron case to be heard by a jury, was set for 2 June.

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