For years now, Enron Corp. has been synonymous with fraud and lies. Attorneys for its former top two leaders are about to try to make good on their promise to tear down that image and show that not only are their clients innocent of wrongdoing, the company was no bed of corruption.
“Enron was no house of cards. It was no crooked company,” Daniel Petrocelli, lead lawyer for former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling, told the eight-woman, four-man jury during opening statements more than two months ago in the fraud and conspiracy trial of his client and Enron founder Kenneth Lay.
“Enron was an American company who was willing to go out on the line and hang it in the wind. They were not an unusually risky company. They were a company that was on a cutting edge of technology, and they failed and they failed greatly. They did not fail criminally,” lead Lay lawyer Michael Ramsey told jurors.
Both defendants aim to testify during their unified defense case, which is slated to kick off the 10th week of the trial on Monday. Petrocelli said Skilling could begin testifying by week’s end. How quickly Lay follows suit depends on how many other witnesses take the stand in between.
Jurors got a taste of what they would say when the trial commenced.
“He is going to tell you how much he loved this company, how he built this company, and that he would never do anything to hurt his company,” Petrocelli said during opening statements.