The NatWest 3—as the three former British bankers facing Enron-related charges are popularly known—must remain in the US while they await their trial and are barred from talking to each other outside the presence of their attorneys, a judge ruled this morning.
Even defendants David Bermingham, Giles Darby and Gary Mulgrew could not have been surprised that they would have to remain in the US. After all, allowing accused criminals possibly facing decades of jail time to roam the world is not a great way of making sure they show up for trial. But what seems to have shocked the three is that they can’t hang out with each other. It seems they were even planning on living together while they awaited trial.
[More on British bankers "living together" after the jump.]
There’s probably good reason for not allowing them to speak, much less live together. Potentially each of the three has very divergent interests and could seek to garner favor with the court by betraying the confidences of the others. Having a lawyer around will make it much less likely that they will spill incriminating information to each other.
But the NatWest 3 certainly seem to be taking the whole “you have to get your own apartment” thing badly, with Berminham describing the judge’s decision as “psychological torture.” Just how close were these fellas anyway? Is it even legal for three men to live together in Texas?
We think the judge has missed a great opportunity to eliminate flight risk while enriching all of our lives. Clearly the NatWest 3 should not only have been allowed to live together—they should have been required to live together on a reality television show. Think Big Brother or Real World for allegedly fraudulent bankers! Call it "Three Men and A Criminal Trial."
Motion to appeal!
Judge: Brits in Enron case must stay put [Houston Chronicle]