Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling is one of the most hated men in Houston. He's not getting much love from the Supreme Court either.
Monday, the Supreme Court denied Skilling's petition for review of judge's "harmless" error in Skilling's trial. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals previously rejected Skilling's appeal, finding that the jury was presented with "overwhelming evidence that Skilling conspired to commit securities fraud," The New York Times reports.
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 Supreme Court’s 2010 Skilling v. U.S. ruling, the majority held that the honest services statue applies only in cases involving bribery and kickbacks. Other applications are unconstitutionally vague.
After the Fifth Circuit upheld Skilling’s conviction a second time, the disgraced executive decided to try his luck once more with the Nine. Skilling’s attorneys appealed, claiming 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 appellate court improperly ignored Skilling’s trial defense by rejecting a new trial, according to CNBC.
Skilling’s luck — much like Enron’s pension funds — has run out. The Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal without comment.
So what’s next for Jeffrey Skilling? Unless he finds additional grounds for appeal or a sympathetic state executive willing to issue a pardon, Skilling should resign himself to his 24-year fraud sentence.
- Supreme Court Orders: Copyright Protection and Enron Rejection (FindLaw’s Supreme Court Blog)
- Skilling Gets 24 Years (CNN Money)
- Conviction for Honest Services Fraud Upheld Despite Skilling (FindLaw’s Seventh Circuit Blog)
- Employment Agreement - Enron Corp. and Jeffrey K. Skilling: Oct 13, 1997 (FindLaw)