Former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, left, exited a federal courthouse with his attorney Daniel Petrocelli, right, in 2006 after being sentenced to more than 24 years in federal prison.

David J. Phillip • AP file ,

Enron's Jeffrey Skilling strikes deal for shorter sentence

  • Article by: MICHAEL J. de la MERCED
  • New York Times
  • May 8, 2013 - 10:41 PM

Jeffrey Skilling, imprisoned for the past six years because of his role in the fraud that caused the collapse of Enron, has reached a deal that could reduce his sentence by more than a decade.

As part of the agreement with the Justice Department, the former chief executive of the energy giant will waive his rights to any further appeals. In addition, he has agreed to allow more than $40 million of assets that were seized from him to be distributed to victims of Enron’s failure.

Under federal prison rules, Skilling — who had been sentenced to 24 years and 4 months after being convicted of fraud and conspiracy — could leave prison as soon as 2017.

The agreement is still subject to approval by Judge Simeon T. Lake III of U.S. District Court in Houston, who oversaw Skilling’s trial in 2006. A resentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 21.

If approved, the pact would conclude Skilling’s legal battle with the government over his role in Enron’s implosion.

“The proposed agreement brings certainty and finality to a long painful process,” Daniel Petrocelli, a lawyer for Skilling, said in a statement. “Although the recommended sentence for Jeff would still be more than double any other Enron defendant, all of whom have long been out of prison, Jeff will at least have the chance to get back a meaningful part of his life.”

Skilling, also known as prisoner 29296-179, first began serving his sentence at a prison in Waseca, Minn. He was moved to an institution in Littleton, Colo., after the Waseca facility was converted into a women’s penitentiary.

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