Word is starting to spread that Jeff Skilling might not have to serve out the 24 years to which he was sentenced after his trial. Over at the Conglomerate blog, Christine Hurt lifts the following sentence out of the Fifth Circuit's December 12th order denying Skilling bail: "Our review has disclosed serious frailties in Skilling's conviction of conspiracy, securities fraud, and insider trading, difficulties brought by a decision of this court handed down after the jury's verdict, as well as less formidable questions regarding the giving of a jury instruction on deliberate ignorance."
Hurt says this could all indicate that Skilling might end up serving a lot less time.
So, why was he denied bail? Well, even if the Fifth Circuit thinks that the counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and insider trading are vulnerable on appeal, there are still five counts of false statements to auditors. The time to be served on convictions standing after an appeal would have to be less than the duration of time between December 12, 2006 and the appeal. So, the Fifth Circuit might be saying that much of the conviction may be reversed, but there could still be six months to a year to serve at the end of the day. Well, that's a lot different than 24 years. Remember that when the Fifth Circuit sua sponte released the Merrill Lynch bankers William Fuhs, Daniel Bayly and Robert Furst from prison pending appeal the bankers had already served one year and had been sentenced to 37- and 30-month sentences.
She goes on to wonder why more wasn't made of this at the time the order was issued, joking that she's going to file the entry under "How Did I Miss This?" Well, as much as we hate to toot our own horn, she wouldn't have missed it if she was reading DealBreaker, which mentioned the "serious frailties" the very next day.
Re-reading the Fifth Circuit's Denial of Skilling's Bail Pending Appeal [The Conglomerate]