Enron Trial: Skilling's Third Day on the Stand

Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling continues answering defense questions at the Enron fraud and conspiracy trial this morning in federal court. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 4/12/06 during the KUHF Morning Business report.

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Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling told jurors that sometimes he's hesitant to state it, but, yes, he's smart. But not smart enough to think he could mastermind a conspiracy to commit fraud.

Skilling went point-by-point over some of the government's accusations, each time stating that they were not true. Skilling said Enron did not have artificial mandates for growth, and he has no recollection of asking that one earnings statement be increased by a penny, as alleged in earlier testimony. He said he never signed off on a government filing knowing there were inaccuracies or false statements within them. Skilling reiterated that he relied on accountants, lawyers and other experts to ensure that the filings were accurate. He said he assumed scripts written for him for analyst calls were correct.

Many witnesses who've reached plea deals with the government, in exchange for their cooperation, have said Skilling and Enron founder Ken Lay broke the law, Petrocelli noted. Skilling said those witnesses, except for former Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow, are not guilty of crimes. He again admitted being wrong about Fastow.

Skilling told jurors he put Enron's well-being ahead of his own, at one point declining to cash out $50 million that was due to him. He said he was consumed by Enron, and wanted to build it to be an institution.

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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