Enron Jury Gets Long Weekend

The jury gets a long weekend before resuming deliberations in the Enron fraud and conspiracy case. A separate bench trial over four banking charges against Lay also resumes on Monday. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 5/19/06 during the KUHF Morning Business Report.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake will decide a separate bank fraud case in which Lay is accused of using $75 million in loans to buy stock on margin, but he will not announce his decision until jurors in the larger case return their verdicts. Lay repaid the loans, but prosecutors contend he broke the law by reneging on a promise to not buy margin stock.

Banker James Shelton explained the law protects banks from having margin calls left unpaid when stock values decline. Banker Robert Hanisse took the stand and Lay's administrative assistant Sally Ballard testified. Ballard discussed how she implemented Lay's instructions concerning his personal financial matters, and confirmed that a signature machine was used on many of the documents submitted into evidence.

Meanwhile, a jury is considering six counts of fraud and conspiracy against Lay and 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors against Jeff Skilling. The jury is not deliberating on Fridays.

Lay expects to take the stand in the bank case, as he did in the fraud and conspiracy trial.Judge Lake plans to issue his verdict in the banking case, which is expected to last several days, only after jurors in the larger case return their verdicts.

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

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