The closing arguments in the case of three former El Paso natural gas traders accused of trying to manipulate prices were Monday, with jury deliberations beginning Tuesday. The Chronicle energy teamed covered jury selection and opening statements waaaaay back when, and Platt’s Gas Daily was the only media organization to have a reporter there regularly (but you’ll have to pay money for those articles).
So here’s an update:
| Jim Brooks, center, testified in his own defense. His attorney, Wendell Odom is on the left. (Chronicle)
There were 34 days of testimony, including appearances by two of the many former natural gas traders who are cooperating with prosecutors, Dallas Dean and Sharon O’Toole. Greg Singleton, the former El Paso Trader who was found guilty of wire fraud in 2006 also testified, but without a formal cooperation agreement with prosecutors. Sentencing for Dean and Singleton has been delayed repeatedly, due in part to this trial.
| Defendant Pat Phillips did not take the stand. (Chronicle)
Todd Geiger, one of the first traders to plead guilty and whose case in many ways threw open the door to all the indictments that have followed, was not called to testify.
Jim Brooks was the only one of the defendants to testify.
The jury has only been out since Tuesday morning but already they’ve sent out 9 notes asking questions. Many were procedural, such as could they have a dictionary (the answer was no), but today they asked about what they saw as a contradiction between the argument “ignorance of the law is not a defense” and one of the charges.