PracticeAccounting FirmsAndersen points to errors in Duncan’s testimony

Andersen points to errors in Duncan's testimony

US federal prosecutors have stuttered in their attempts to have collapsed firm Andersen convicted of criminal charges, after contradictions in the testimony of the government's star witness emerged.

The US Justice Department is relying on a guilty plea from former Enron auditor David Duncan to gain a verdict against the firm.

But the judge told a Houston court she would review what Andersen defence attorneys called ‘fairly voluminous’ errors in Duncan’s statements to FBI agents.

Andersen claims Duncan was bullied into pleading guilty in fear of a threatened 80-year prison sentence that would deprive his three young daughters of a father. After, at first, pleading innocence, he later cut a deal with the government and admitted to illegal document destruction.

If the firm is found not guilty, it could reasonably argue that the government destroyed the firm through vindictiveness and a desire to brush over its own close links to Enron.

The case was scheduled to end by 29 May but now looks likely to last into June.

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