U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal by Former Enron Executive

By Teresa Anderson

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a second appeal by former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling. In his appeal, Skilling petitioned the Court to overturn his fraud conviction. Skilling's attorneys argued that the Court should throw out the conviction.

In June 2010, the Court ruled that Skilling’s conviction would be reexamined by a lower court. In that decision, the  Court found that Skilling’s conviction under the honest services theory was invalid. The Court ruled that, because most cases under the honest services doctrine involved bribes and kickbacks, the law applies only to bribes and kickbacks. Thus Skilling’s conviction on that count must be thrown out. This did not invalidate the government’s entire case against Skilling, however. The Court ruled that the conviction, including counts of fraud and conspiracy were to be reexamined by a lower court.

In April 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld Skilling’s conviction, ruling that even if the convictions related to the honest services provision were thrown out, sufficient evidence remained to prove that Skilling had conspired with others to manipulate Enron’s earnings and conceal its losses.

The Supreme Court rejected Skilling’s appeal without comment, signaling that the Fifth Circuit decision will stand.

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