Risk & Compliance

Enron Testimony Could Involve Ken Lay

Ben Glisan's day in court might have helped prosecutors in their decision about whether to try the chairman of the failed energy giant.
Stephen TaubMarch 8, 2004

Testimony delivered last week by ex-Enron treasurer Ben Glisan Jr. might contain information that could help prosecutors decide whether to criminally charge former chairman Ken Lay, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

Glisan, who pleaded guilty to one conspiracy charge in September 2003 and is currently serving a five-year prison term, appeared before the special Enron grand jury three days last week.

Last fall, Glisan reportedly refused to cooperate with investigators. He may have had a change of heart, however. “Glisan’s got to be cooperating; he’s probably been cooperating for a long time,” one defense lawyer on the Enron cases told the paper. “Obviously, some of this has to be about Lay.”

The Chronicle reasons that Glisan is probably being asked about Lay since prosecutors are known to be mulling whether to criminally charge him. Lay has consistently claimed he did nothing wrong.

Likely hearing testimony from Glisan, the grand jury met for about five hours each day, the paper reported. But it’s unclear what Glisan discussed before the grand jury.

It would make sense for Glisan to cooperate, according to the paper. Within a year of his 2003 guilty plea, the government could ask the court to reduce Glisan’s sentence if he substantially aids the prosecution of others.

On the other hand, Glisan can be charged with making false statements or contempt if he lies to the grand jury or refuses to testify about matters for which he has no Fifth Amendment privilege. The Fifth no longer covers the crimes to which he pleaded guilty.