Andersen Trial Scheduled to Begin Today | AccountingWEB

Andersen Trial Scheduled to Begin Today

Unless there is a last-minute settlement, the federal government and Big Five firm Arthur Andersen, LLP are scheduled to begin jury selection on Monday, May 6, in an obstruction of justice trial stemming from Andersen's admitted destruction of documents relating to its audit of Enron Corp.

The trial will be held in the Houston U.S. District Court presided over by U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon. Arguing for the prosecution will be Chief of the U.S. Attorney's Criminal Division in Brooklyn, Andrew Weissmann, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Buell who works with the Justice Department's organized crime task force in Boston. "They're extremely tenacious, extremely articulate, and extremely shrewd," said Mark Ressler, an attorney at Kasowitz Benson Torres & Friedman and a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

Leading the Andersen legal team is Houston lawyer Rusty Hardin, formerly a prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney's office specializing in death penalty cases. He was part of the prosecution team in the Whitewater litigation in Little Rock, and he gained notoriety in his successful defense of the son of Texas oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II who wanted to protect his father's estate from his father's widow, Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith, who claimed the elder Marshall had promised her one-half of his assets. Mr. Hardin now runs a Houston criminal defense firm, Rusty Hardin & Associates. "He's a trial attorney par excellence," according to Cathy Cochran, a Houston judge in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals who worked with Hardin for many years. Joining Mr. Hardin will be Dennis McInerny, also a former prosecutor and Whitewater attorney and a partner in the New York law firm of Davis, Polk and Wardell.

Jury selection will be completed in one day, and opening arguments from both sides are scheduled for Tuesday. The trial is scheduled to last approximately four weeks and Judge Harmon has already announced plans for a vacation beginning on May 30. The government case is expected to last 15 days and the Andersen team expects to complete its case in five days.

Andersen: The Story So Far

Andersen: Updated List of Client Defections

Andersen Worldwide Network: Who's Going Where?

Wait, there's more!
There's always more at AccountingWEB. We're an active community of financial professionals and journalists who strive to bring you valuable content every day. If you'd like, let us know your interests and we'll send you a few articles every week either in taxation, practice excellence, or just our most popular stories from that week. It's free to sign up and to be a part of our community.
Premium content is currently locked

Editor's Choice

As part of our continued effort to provide valuable resources and insight to our subscribers, we're conducting this brief survey to learn more about your personal experiences in the accounting profession. We will be giving away five $50 Amazon gift cards, and a $250 Amazon gift card to one lucky participant.
This is strictly for internal use and data will not be sold
or shared with any third parties.