Ex-Enron Chief Skilling Loses Bid To Overturn Fraud Conviction At Supreme Court

  @DanRivoli on April 16 2012 12:52 PM

Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, convicted on fraud charges related to the Houston energy giant's downfall, lost a shot to fight the jury verdict at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court Monday rejected Skilling's second bid to overturn his conviction on charges of conspiracy, securities and accounting fraud, and insider trading. He is currently serving a 24-year prison sentence for his role in Enron's bankruptcy in 2001; former Enron chairman Ken Lay was also convicted for lying to investors

Skilling's first trip to the high court in 2010 was promising: the justices said in a unanimous decision that the legal theory prosecutors used to convict him, known as honest services theft, only covers bribes and kickbacks, not fraud.

Yet when the case was sent back to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas, a three-judge panel said April 2011 that the prosecution's error was harmless and that the jury had overwhelming evidence that Skilling conspired to commit securities fraud.

The justices gave no reason for rejecting Skilling's petition to overturn his conviction; Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, presumably because of her work as President Barack Obama's solicitor general, the administration's top Supreme Court attorney.

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