You Must Tell Jeff Skilling He's a Money Laundering Criminal At Least Two Times Before He Will Believe You

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Former Enron chief executive-cum-Bubba’s bitch Jeffrey K. Skilling today appealed the criminal convictions (19 charges of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and misleading auditors) that got him 24 years in prison, and sought a new trial, on the grounds that the government’s case had “profound, inherent weaknesses.” Besides the vague (i.e. golden) argument that there were "serious frailties in the legal theory that federal prosecutors employed to convict Skilling,” the defense team from O’Melveny & Myers also claim that the length of their client’s sentence is unfair (it is four times longer than those of the other Enron execs, six years longer than the average federal sentence for murder). But O’M and M’s pièce de résistance—in our humble opinion—is the argument that it isn’t right to send someone to jail for 24 years just because he/she just happened to draw the shortest straw.
“Someone would have to pay for Enron’s failure,” defense lawyers said. “That someone was Jeff Skilling—the last man standing when the court meted out its punishment.” (“As you well know, Lay dodged that ‘last man standing gets the worst prison sentence’ bullet, but it could’ve just as easily been him. Are you going to penalize our client for not having the foresight to die first? That’s just bad business, gentlemen.”)
The Justice Department will respond with its own filing possibly as early as next month.
Jim Chanos’s take? “Maybe Jeff just misses the scandal limelight. After all, the Enron Boys were a lot more interesting than SIV-lites, "Tier 3" derivative accounting, and missing assets at money-market funds!” (And also, we imagine but cannot say for sure, because this was all over e-mail: unadulterated maniacal laughter.)
Former Enron Chief Appeals Conviction [Washington Post]
Skilling Appeal [CNBC]

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