After serving 5 years of a 24-year sentence, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling wants another day before the Supreme Court.
Skilling was convicted in 2006 of conspiracy, securities fraud, making false representations to auditors, and insider trading associated with the Enron collapse. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions in 2009, but the Supreme Court invalidated one of the grounds of Skilling’s conspiracy charge - honest-services fraud - and kicked the case back to the Fifth Circuit in 2010.
In the opinion, the Supreme Court ruled that honest-services fraud, which makes it a crime "to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services," was unconstitutionally vague, and limited the law to apply only to bribes and kickbacks, reports The New York Times.
Earlier this year, the Fifth Circuit again affirmed Skilling's convictions, finding that the district court committed harmless error when it submitted the honest-services theory to the jury.
Tuesday, Skilling's attorneys filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking the High Court to review the Fifth Circuit's latest decision.
Skilling's attorneys claim that the law does not allow the Fifth Circuit to determine whether the jury could have convicted Skilling without the discredited honest-services theory, and that the court is improperly ignoring Skilling's trial defense by rejecting a new trial, reports CNBC.
Do you agree with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that the honest-services issue amounts to a harmless error because the jury could have reached the fraud verdict on alternate theories, or do you think that the Supreme Court will have stern words for the New Orleans-based court for its decision?
- Skilling v. U.S. (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling's Honest Services Fraud Conviction Vacated (FindLaw's Supreme Court blog)
- Incorrect Death Penalty Jury Instruction Not Harmless (FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog)