Former Enron Employees Share Trial Observations

The Enron trial resumes today with the defense presenting its case. The prosecution spent nearly nine weeks trying to prove the conspiracy and fraud charges against former CEO Jeff Skilling and founder Ken Lay. Both are expected to take the stand. They say Enron was a viable company. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker checked in with some former employees to see what they think of the trial so far.

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For many of the employees a lot of time has passed and they are on to new lives. Enron was Craig Rickard's first job after graduating from the University of Houston. He says the trial, so far, as gone as he expected.

"I believe the problems ... pay the biggest price."

In the second half of the trial, Rickard wants to hear Skilling explain his stock sales. Testimony seemed to indicate that Skilling had started the stock sales before nine-eleven.

"The reason he had given ... his excuse is for that."

After the proseuction rested, three charges against Skilling and one against Lay were dropped. Rickard thinks that shows strength in the prosecution's case on the other charges that remain. Eric Rhodes was one of the several thousand who were laid off following the bankruptcy.

"I'm interested to hear ... smoke and mirrors."

At the same time, Rhodes finds himself equally curious about what the jury is thinking and how much they are understanding the high finance accounting issues. Monique Shankle hasn't been following the trial closely. Instead, she's just waiting for the verdict, although she is curious about what Lay and Skilling will have to say on the stand. Shankle already has her opinion of Skilling.

"He definitely jumped ship ... when they were smaller."

At the judges request, defense lawyers have said they will try to keep testimony down to four weeks. Skilling is expected to take the stand sometime next week with Lay following. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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