Trial of the Century: The Enron Trial: Episode 2 - The Trial of the Century

Thomas Fox - Compliance Evangelist
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Loren Steffy and Tom Fox are back for another episode in The Enron Trial series. Here, Loren discusses the atmosphere in the courthouse and what he observed over the five-month-long trial.

The Trial Begins

“This was a criminal trial, but it was the trial of the century,” Loren believes, not only due to the company’s popularity but because See more +

Loren Steffy and Tom Fox are back for another episode in The Enron Trial series. Here, Loren discusses the atmosphere in the courthouse and what he observed over the five-month-long trial.

The Trial Begins

“This was a criminal trial, but it was the trial of the century,” Loren believes, not only due to the company’s popularity but because prosecution of executives was something that was not often seen. They are very difficult cases to prove, and Enron was no different.

The Prosecutor’s Strategy

The prosecutor avoided going into too much accounting detail and instead kept the focus on the emotional aspect of the trial. “Enron was a great company to work for … People wanted to work there; they thought they were doing all these innovative things. Nobody wanted to lose their position in the company. They didn’t wanna lose their jobs, and they wound up getting caught up in this,” Loren tells Tom.

The Defence

The defence had a really tough time. Loren recounts one moment where Kenneth Lay was on the stand and openly questioned his attorney, “A couple of defence attorneys that were providing perspective said, ‘This is the turning point in the case.’ I mean, that was just so devastating that, you know, you just showed the jury that you don’t trust your lawyer.” Jeffrey Skilling’s legal team employed an unusual commenting anonymously under Houston Chronicle blogs. In court, screenshots of these comments were utilized when the team motioned to move the trial. “It was interesting,” Loren laughs about it.

The Closing Arguments

Again, it was less about accounting and more about the deliberate attempt to bamboozle their shareholders and employees – many people were hurt by it. “It wasn’t just a harmless lie,” said Loren, “there were real-world consequences.” See less -

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