July 30, 2009

Enron’s Skilling to learn new sentence

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake has a second shot at sentencing former Enron chief Jeffrey Skilling after an appeals court tossed out a 24-year sentence.

A panel of three judges in New Orleans upheld Skilling's fraud conviction in January, but ruled Skilling's conduct did provoke the collapse of a financial institution, a factor that had been considered in his previous sentence.

The appeals court also said Skilling's trial was fair, but should have been conducted outside of Houston, where sentiment against the company after its collapse ran high, The New York Times reported in January.

CNN reported Thursday that sentencing guidelines would now place the sentence between 188 months and 235 months -- from 15 2/3 years to 19 1/2 years.

If I were a betting man, I would say Judge Lake would sentence him to the low end of the guideline range and Skilling would get 15 1/2 years, Cliff Stricklin, a former prosecutor in the Enron case, told CNN.

Skilling was scheduled to appear in court Thursday to receive his new sentence.