Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay were convicted by a Houston jury today, Skilling on 19 fraud, conspiracy and insider trading counts, Lay on six counts of conspiracy and fraud. Professor Bainbridge says:
It’s not the crime, it’s the cover up. The real crimes at Enron mainly consisted of turncoat government witness Andrew Fastow’s shady deals, but Skilling and, especially, Lay are going down for improperly misrepresenting Enron’s fortunes.
I don’t know enough about Enron to have any opinion on whether the verdicts were right. Years ago, though, when Enron was riding high, a friend who was an executive with a midwestern energy company thought Enron’s management had some interesting ideas, and arranged a meeting between Jeff Skilling and the president of his company. Afterward, he asked the president what he had thought of Skilling. The response: “Don’t ever bring that son of a ***** around here again.” Sounds like Skilling made the same impression on the jury.