Trial Verdict Only a Milepost in Enron Case

The guilty verdicts in the fraud and conspiracy trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are not the end of the road in this trial, but only a major milepost. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports.

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Sentencing is still to come and both men are free until then. Judge Sim Lake set bond for Lay at a million dollars and had him turnover his passport. Skilling is free on his current bond. Once sentenced they will most likely seek to remain free pending appeal, that could take many months or years.

"In other cases this judge has not allowed defendants, white collar dependents, to remain free pending appeal."

Adam Gershowitz is a professor at the South Texas College of Law. He says there are a couple factors Judge Lake will consider, the most significant is...are Lay and Skilling a flight risk?

"And that, of course, is unlikely here because their assets have been frozen by the government, it's not as if they can just slip out the door. But the other factor that's important is...what's the likelihood that they're going to succeed on appeal. In other words do they a have really good appellate issue, and if they do have a really good appellate issue, the judge is supposed to be more inclined to letting them remain free pending appeal."

Gershowtiz says there is one obvious appellate issue.

"The intent question in the jury instruction about whether they could be convicted for being deliberately ignorant or hiding their head in the sand. That's probably the biggest appellate issue facing the 5th circuit."

Lay and Skilling will be sentence on September 11th.

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