Former Enron CEO Cross Examination Continues

The often-tense cross examination of former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling will continue this morning at the Federal Courthouse. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 4/18/06 during the KUHF Morning Business Report.

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Prosecutor Sean Berkowitz said Enron's chief financial officer ran a partnership functioning as a private equity fund to buy troubled assets, but Skilling failed to exercise control over the process. Skilling oversaw Andy Fastow's compensation, to ensure that his allegiance was more with Enron than LJM. But he denied knowing Fastow would be making, as Berkowitz phrased it, "a ton of money" with the partnerships.

The government alleges that Skilling sold stock in the weeks after his departure based on insider information, saying he knew about an internal investigation that was underway at Enron. But Skilling said he never discussed any problems with Ken Lay when they met just after Skilling's resignation, even though Lay had received the famous Sherron Watkins memo warning of accounting irregularities.

Berkowitz noted that while at Enron, Skilling counseled employees about correct body language and ways to exude confidence. The prosecutor pointed to a consultant hired by the defense team who helps witnesses communicate well with juries. Skilling said the consultant has been helpful in keeping his testimony from becoming too complicated.

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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