Our own Saddam trial
Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay launched an impassioned plea Tuesday for former employees of the bankrupt energy company to defy a â€œwave of terrorâ€ by federal prosecutors and help him battle criminal charges.
â€œIt will only take a few brave individuals who are willing to stand up and say itâ€™s time for the truth to come out,â€ Lay told the Houston Forum a month before he faces trial on fraud and conspiracy counts.
In a speech to about 500 business and academic leaders, Lay repeated his insistence that he committed no crimes related to Enronâ€™s 2001 crash. He accused the government of bullying potential witnesses who could help him and promised to testify in his own defense.
â€œTruth is a great rock,â€ he said, quoting Winston Churchill. â€œWhether it will continue to be submerged by a wave â€” a wave of terror by the Enron Task Force â€” will be determined by former Enron employees.â€
Lay and his co-defendants â€” former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and former top accountant Richard Causey â€” have repeatedly alleged that critical witnesses are afraid to talk to them because prosecutors threaten them with possible indictments or harsh sentences for those who have already pleaded guilty. Prosecutors have denied intimidating anyone.
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, who will preside over the trial slated to begin Jan. 17, said this month that the defense has failed to show any prosecutorial misconduct. The judge also sent letters to potential witnesses saying they can speak to defense teams without fear of government retaliation.