Three weeks into the trial of Enron’s former chief executives, billed by some as the business trial of the century, the case has become so bogged down that courtroom observers joke it might last a century.
Things got so slow during a detailed cross-examination of a witness this week that even the judge in the fraud and conspiracy trial of former Enron CEOs Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay lost his patience.
“If you’re going to question him about Shakespeare, you don’t have to start with the invention of the alphabet,” Judge Sim Lake snapped at a defense lawyer as he refused a request to replay a nearly two-hour tape.
Legal experts say the sometimes painstakingly detailed pace is to be expected. Despite the fanfare and deep emotions that accompanied the start of this trial, few white-collar crime cases produce the riveting courtroom drama one would see on a ‘Law and Order’ television show.