Enron's Skilling Denies Conspiracy

Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling attempted to undercut the government's case against his role in the fall of Enron by telling the jury he was not motivated by greed.


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Consider this exchange between Skilling and his attorney Daniel Petrocelli, as reported in the New York Times:

"Are you smart enough to mastermind this conspiracy and get away with it for years?" Petrocelli asked.

"I don't think so," Skilling responded.

"Are you consumed by greed?" Petrocelli followed.

"No, I was consumed by this company," Skilling said. "I though it could be the company of the 21st century."

Skilling and former Enron Chairman Ken Lay allege that the former chief financial officer, Andrew S. Fastow, acted without their knowledge and was the lone brainchild behind the hidden losses, inflated earnings and questionable partnerships.

The prosecution has tried to show that Skilling and Lay were not only aware of the illegal practices, but encouraged them. Prosecutors allege Skilling determined ahead of time that Enron's earnings would grow up to 20 percent annually, the Associated Press reported.

Skilling, who began his testimony Monday, is charged with 28 counts conspiracy, fraud and insider trading. Petrocelli told U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, Tuesday, that he expects to continue questioning his client through Thursday, which could push cross-examination to next week.

The criminal trial of Skilling and Lay is in its 11th week. Lay faces six counts of fraud and conspiracy.

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