Enron Trial: First Week in Review

The trial of Ken Lay and Jeffery Skilling enters its second week later this morning. By all estimates it is going to be a long and detailed affair. This morning Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reviews what's happened so far with former federal prosecutor Christopher Bebel.

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The fact that Lay and Skilling are on trial together gives the defense attorneys an advantage. Bebel says they got two opening statements are will get two chances at cross examination too. However he says should one of the defendants turn on the other, the advantage shifts to the prosecution.

Because in essence should each defendant try to escape these charges by pointing the finger at his colleague, then there will be two attackers and there will be one chance to defend the attacks.

And he says every advantage matters. That's why there was such an issue before trial of who sits closer to the jury.

When the stakes are large, the parties argue for just about everything. They fight and scratch and claw for just about every little advantage.

One defense advantage that is not insignificant is that this trial is going to be long and will have many layers and players and could simply bore the jury. Bebel says expect the defense to make it ever longer by taking much more time at cross examination than prosecutors take on direct. And he says Judge Sim Lake will probably not be inclined to speed-up the defense.

Because there could be the possibility of reversal on appeal, should there be convictions, if defense council are not allowed to put on their theory of the case, and they are forbidden to develop the evidence that supports their theory of the case.

Prosecutors like their first witness to be strong, according to Chris Bebel Mark Koenig has been so far.

He was able to tell the jurors about Mr. Lay's presence at key meetings and Mr. Skillings presence at key meetings and show how the internal discussions were negative and how those discussions were then turned around and cast in a completely different light when disclosures concerning these issues were made to public investor.

He says Koenig was also able to vilify Skilling by recalling Skillings acidic reaction to a hedge fund manager complaining about insufficient financial information.

All things considered the government is off to a strong start.

However, Bebel says Koenig admittedly lied about the events at Enron to the investing public, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department and the Grand Jury.

Look for the defense attorneys to make a lot of headway in that area.

To hear the complete interview with attorney Christopher Bebel go to kuhf.org.

Click to hear entire Christopher Bebel Interview

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