Jailed Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling Will Get Prison Term Shortened

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Former Enron chief executive Jeff Skilling arrives at the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse Monday April 17, 2006 for cross-examination by the governmanet in the fraud and conspiracy trial against Skilling and Ken Lay.
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By JUAN A. LOZANO

HOUSTON -- Convicted ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's more than 24-year prison sentence for his role in the collapse of the once mighty energy giant could be reduced by as much as 10 years if a federal judge approves an agreement reached Wednesday between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Under the agreement, Skilling's original sentence will be reduced to somewhere between 14 and 17.5 years.

The agreement still has to be approved by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who is set to hold a June 21 hearing in Houston to make the final decision on the length of Skilling's sentence.

Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling's attorney, says the agreement "brings certainty and finality to a long, painful process."

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the agreement will allow victims of Enron's collapse to finally receive more than $40 million in restitution they are owed. The ongoing status of the case has so far prevented the government to distribute Skilling's seized assets to victims, according to the agreement.

Skilling was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors for his role in the downfall of Houston-based Enron. The company collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 under the weight of years of illicit business deals and accounting tricks.

Skilling has been in prison since December 2006 and is serving his sentence in a low security facility outside of Denver.

An appeals court in 2009 upheld his convictions but vacated his more than 24-year prison term and ordered that he be resentenced, saying a sentencing guideline was improperly applied, resulting in a longer prison term.

The U.S. Supreme Court said in 2010 that one of his convictions was flawed when it sharply curtailed the use of the "honest services" fraud law, and told a lower court to decide whether he deserved a new trial. The lower court said no.

Skilling, 59, was the highest-ranking executive to be punished for Enron's downfall. Enron founder Kenneth Lay's similar convictions were vacated after he died of heart disease less than two months after trial.

Enron's collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock. Its aftershocks were felt across the city and the energy industry.

Enron Ex-CEO Skilling Could See Shorter Sentence

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108 Comments

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buddymaine

I am surprised BUSH didn't pardon him a long time ago

May 11 2013 at 1:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
buddymaine

Just one more way that shows MONEY talks and those that have it WALK!!

May 11 2013 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
demigoff1

40 m just a drop in the bucket and this country is going to hell in a hand basket.

May 11 2013 at 12:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gmgpjandon

The great god commerce is going to frown on this nation. In order to worship it, one must be true to numbers.

May 10 2013 at 10:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pjcmp

An embarassment to every American...a slap in the face to our system of justice!

May 10 2013 at 10:02 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gift of the maji

the wealthy cheats and thieves seem to be always let off the hook .the poor go to prison for long periods of time for minor offences. we have the best justice system that money can buy

May 10 2013 at 8:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
SHIRLEY

The man should be in Jail the rest of his life.

May 10 2013 at 8:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
doug

Keep Skilling in jail. He is blackmailing the government. There should be no reason why the 40M should not be distributed now. Skilling and his family should have no assests, they should have been auctioned and the proceeds gone to the victims. Please Judge Lake do not shame the justice system more.

May 10 2013 at 7:36 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jck8834

Is anyone surprised ? Is anyone angry over this another fine example of "EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL" Ponzi master Bernie M. will be next and why not ?

May 10 2013 at 7:24 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
isabliveoak

He should have served his full sentence. Money people always come out smelling like a rose. Simple people serve their time. He will probably have a great job in no time. Go figure??

May 10 2013 at 7:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply