Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal of an April decision by an appeals court that found errors made by prosecutors were “harmless.”
Skilling, convicted on 19 out of 28 charges following a 2006 jury trial, appealed those verdicts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
The Supreme Court ruled in June 2010 that one of the theories behind the conviction for conspiracy — the honest-services fraud theory — should not have been used in instructions given to the jury. Honest services fraud is defined as a company officer depriving a company “of the intangible right of honest services.”
The high court sent the issue back to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if the use of the theory invalidated any of the charges. The 5th Circuit said it found the error to be “harmless”, however, saying there was ample evidence to allow the jury to convict based on other theories used by prosecutors.
In the appeal of the 5th Circuit decision filed earlier this month, Skilling’s attorneys said they are challenging the “harmless error” argument and the argument a defendant’s testimony can be categorically disregarded in such a revie.
“Skilling’s petition will demonstrate that the Court’s holdings on both of these questions conflict with the decisions of other circuits and with Supreme Court precedent, and that both questions involve legal issues of nationwide importance in the demonstration of harmless-error review,” the filing says.
The full filing is below.
Skilling will still be resentenced by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake based on a prior ruling from the appeals court that the Houston judge applied federal sentencing guidelines improperly.
A date for resentencing has not been set.