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The NatWest 3 Guilty Plea: Risk Management

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We noted our disappointment yesterday with the decision by the three British bankers—called The NatWest 3 by British tabloids—to plead guilty to one count each of wire fraud. The rubber hose and brass knuckles style of regulating business through the criminal justice system scored another undeserved victory, and unfortunately this will no doubt vindicate the zealous prosecution of Enron’s failure in the minds of many.
Houston attorneyTom Kirkendall, who writes the brilliant Houston’s Clear Thinkers blog, notes that the threat of long jail sentences and a jury pool that is virulently anti-Enron probably made the guilty plea inevitable. The defendants were facing years of jail in a foreign land—Texas!—and the convictions of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling were not exactly re-assuring about the likely fairness of a trial.
“Given those choices, my sense is that the NatWest Three's choice was a rational and reasonable decision. It's simply not a choice that they should have been forced to make,” Kirkendall writes.
Somebody was guilty because they were guilty [Houston's Clear Thinkers]