Enron Ex-CEO Seeks Retrial on ‘New Evidence,’ Lawyer Says

Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling, now serving a 24-year prison sentence for misleading his company’s investors, intends to seek a retrial, his lawyer said.

“Mr. Skilling intends to file a motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence,’’ Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling’s lead attorney, said in a filing last week in federal court in Houston. The filing didn’t give details of the nature of the new evidence, and Petrocelli didn’t immediately respond today to requests for comment.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in Houston, who presided over Skilling’s trial, set a June 7 hearing to discuss a defense request for more time to file the request for a retrial.

Skilling, 58, was convicted by a Houston jury in 2006 of misleading investors about the true financial condition of Enron. He was also convicted of lying to auditors and insider trading. He’s in a federal prison in Englewood, Colorado.

Enron, once the world’s largest energy trader, plunged into bankruptcy in December 2001 after revelations that it was using off-balance-sheet vehicles to hide billions of dollars in losses and inflate the company’s stock price. More than 5,000 jobs and $2 billion in employee retirement funds were wiped out by Enron’s collapse. Investors sued to recover more than $60 billion in losses.

Chairman’s Death

Kenneth Lay, Enron’s founder and chairman, was convicted of leading the fraud alongside Skilling. Lay’s conviction was erased when he died six weeks after the verdict, before he had a chance to appeal.

Skilling has been challenging his conviction for five years. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed that Skilling had been convicted, at least in part, on an improper legal theory. The high court sent his case to the federal appeals court in New Orleans for further review.

The appellate court in turn upheld the verdicts, finding that evidence against him was sufficient to have convicted him regardless of the improper legal theory.

The case is U.S. v. Skilling, 4:04-cr-0025, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).