Enron Documentary Opens in Houston- When's Ken Lay Coming to Trial?Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Enron Documentary Opens in Houston- When's Ken Lay Coming to Trial?

19 April 2005 at 10:00:40 PM

Houston Chronicle:

The documentary includes internal corporate videos, bits of Skilling's 2002 testimony before Congress and photos of ex-executives ensnared in criminal cases. Lay appears in his post-indictment news conference in July, when he was added to a pending fraud and conspiracy case against Skilling and former top accountant Richard Causey.

The film touches on a mid-1980s oil trading scandal that nearly brought Enron down, the company's role in the California power crisis of 2000-2001 and failed ventures in broadband and retail energy.

More from MSNBC

With “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” writer-director Alex Gibney takes a notorious tale of corporate greed and plays it as Greek tragedy, Texas-style.

The approach reveals him to be one of the smart guys, too. By focusing his documentary on the people behind the Enron scandal — their foibles, follies and moral frailty — Gibney takes a potentially dry, daunting topic and turns it into something eminently compelling.

The shredded documents, the private equity funds, the false accounting reports that contributed to the downfall of the nation’s seventh-largest company — all that can be stultifying stuff. But the filmmaker, working from the book “The Smartest Guys in the Room” by Fortune magazine reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, instead turns his attention to the human and inhumane aspects of Enron Corp.’s 2001 collapse that we can relate to, without ever dumbing down the story.

Sad that a documentary about Enron comes out long before Ken Lay has been brought to trial. The Chronicle reports that Ken Lay is expected in court in January, 2006, but prosecutors would like him in court... this year.

Lay's Enron fraud trial, along with co-defendants ex-CEO Jeff Skilling and former top accountant Rick Causey, is scheduled for January 2006 and is expected to take months. But Lay also faces four personal bank fraud charges that allege he lied to banks about how he would use $75 million in loans.

Lay had asked before for a speedy trial, but is now balking at the idea of being tried this year. His own attorneys believe he will have a better chance of going free or having the charges dismissed if he is tried on the smaller bank charges issue this year, rather than being tried with Skilling et al.

Lay should agree to be tried now, Androphy said.

"His best chance is when he's not sitting next to Skilling and Causey," he said.

Dan Cogdell, the Houston lawyer who won the only Enron defendant acquittal so far — of Sheila Kahanek — said this "seems a fairly transparent tactic to advantage the government in their biggest Enron trial."

"Judge Lake will recognize that the reasonable thing is to try the big case first. To do otherwise will put the cart in front of the horse, which is a bad thing unless your horse knows how to push," Cogdell said.

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