Enron Trial: Experts Assess Accounting Methods

Expert witnesses have been assessing Enron's accounting methods in the waning days of the Enron trial. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 5/4/06 during the KUHF Morning Business Report.

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Former Coopers & Lybrand auditor Walter Rush, a witness for Jeff Skilling, talked about Enron's handling of reserves. The government alleges that moving risk books from Enron's retail energy business to its wholesale unit in 2001 was an illegal way to hide problems with retail. But Rush said the moves are perfectly legitimate as a way to brace the company against potentially tough times, and Arthur Andersen accountants approved the use of the reserves.

Rush followed testimony from Ken Lay witness Jerry Arnold, a University of Southern California accounting professor, who said Enron's accounting followed general accounting standards. But Arnold said he never met with any former employees for Arthur Andersen or Enron, instead basing his review on studying documents, speaking with defense lawyers and talking twice with Lay.

More expert witnesses are due to testify. Jeff Skilling's wife Rebecca Carter will also take the stand, and former Enron broadband chief Ken Rice is due back. Defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli estimates the defense will rest next Monday or Tuesday. Closing arguments could start on Monday, May 15th.

Lay publicist Kelly Kimberly said defense attorney Michael Ramsey was re-admitted to the hospital yesterday afternoon after complaining of not feeling well. He's undergoing additional tests.

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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