Friday, April 14, 2006

Enron, C'est Moi

The Houston Chronicle reports that yesterday Jeff Skilling conflated himself and Enron:
"We are innocent. And by 'we' I mean Enron Corp.," Skilling said shortly before his lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, finished his direct examination and court adjourned. "It was a fine company. I am innocent of all of these charges, and I will fight for that for a long time."
He called for others to take a stand, as well.
"Unless someone takes a stand, and I think Ken (Lay) and I are taking a stand, they are going to feel that they were tricked.
Perhaps, but tricked by whom?
Skilling's lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli managed to elicit some emotion from his famously excitable client:
"I'm sorry. I have to calm down here a little bit," Skilling said, pulling back.
"Is it difficult at times to contain how upset you are?" Petrocelli asked, guiding his client to a subject that usually elicits great anger and emotion from Skilling.
"Yes, at times, yes," Skilling replied.
This may be an astute bit of innoculation on Petrocelli's part. I imagine that prosecutors will be working hard to get under his skin when they begin their cross examination on Monday.
The problem for Skilling is that he has consistently blamed everyone but himself for Enron's woes. To the extent that his defense is based on convincing jurors that there was nothing wrong with Enron, and that the company's woes are entirely the fault of short sellers, business journalists, Andy Fastow (whom Skilling made CEO) and the government, all colluding to bring down his beloved Enron.
He still thinks people "don't get it."

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