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The Ghost of Ken Lay Set Free!

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As expected, a federal judge voided Ken Lay’s conviction yesterday. The founder of failed energy trading outfit Enron had been convicted by a Texas jury of conspiracy and fraud for his role in the 2001 collapse of the company six weeks before his death. The judge in the case ruled yesterday that because Lay died before having a chance to file for appeal, the conviction had to be set aside.
Of course the real deal here isn’t about freeing Ken Lay’s ghost from the calumny of criminal conviction. The public perception of his role as a villain in one of the biggest corporate scandals ever will likely survive any legal technicalities. Like so much else, this is really about money. You see, the decision will make it far more difficult for the government to order the forfeiture of the $43.5 that prosecutors say he pilfered from Enron.
Which isn’t the say that Ken Lay’s heirs can rest assured that Lay’s fortune will be theirs to keep. Civil suits will proceed apace, and often these do not require the presence of a defendant in the way a criminal trial does. Yes. You read that right. You and your estate can be sued even once you’ve taken shelter in the grave. We’ll leave the legal technicalities to the specialists over at AboveTheLaw, though.
Later today we’ll check in with the various Ken Lay Lives factions to see how the “living Ken Lay” is reacting to news that his alleged alleged death has vacated his conviction.
Judge vacates Ken Lay's Enron conviction [Houston Chronicle]