Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling May Get Out Of Jail Sooner Than Expected

While you were distracted by sequestration, increasing unemployment numbers, plans to cut Social Security or Kim Kardashian’s ever-growing baby bump, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week

English: Mug shot of Jeffrey Skilling.

English: Mug shot of Jeffrey Skilling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

they were contemplating reducing former Enron CEO Jeffry Skilling’s 24-year sentence in the slammer for his role in the failure of his firm.

Enron? Remember Enron?

It seems so quaint these days that we were once outraged by Enron, a would be corporate wheeler-dealer in the 21st century energy markets whose supposed financial prowess turned out to be so much in the way of old-fashioned smoke and mirrors. Eventually, like most of these things do, it all came to an end. So we then experienced a parade of heroic would-be whistleblowers and sad sack employees whose 401(k)s were now so much confetti. There were magazine cover stories and newspaper exposes. Eventually, there were trials and a number of people, including Skilling, went to jail.

Enron was, if nothing else, not too big too fail and the impact of its money-related malfeasance did not threaten the world economy.  By the standards of 2013, that positively marks it as a small time operation, the corporate equivalent of a three-card monte scheme. As a result, hearing news about Enron today feels like hearing a golden oldie on the car radio. That Jeffrey Skilling. What a rascal. Remember when his company tried to fix the California energy markets? Whatever happened to that Skilling boy anyway?

That Skilling boy has spent more than six years in jail. Like almost everyone who has been found guilty of a crime, he continues to claim he was innocent. Unlike most of those people, however, he still has enough money to employ lawyers to work on aspects of his case.

It’s been a long, no doubt expensive, journey through the courts. In 2009, an appeals court found that his conviction was possibly impacted by an improper use of legal theory by government prosecutors. When the case returned to the lower courts, however, a judge decided that the original conviction was based a huge amount of evidence and that the Supreme Court ruling about that one aspect of the case should not impact the entirety of the conviction. In the meantime, Skilling’s attorneys turned around and announced they were planning yet another appeal, this time based on what they say is recently discovered evidence.

Now it appears Skilling’s legal investment might have paid off. At this point, the new proposed sentence and agreement between Skilling and the Department of Justice is unknown.

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