Risk & Compliance

Lea Fastow’s Plea Deal Falls Apart

Judge sees no reason to limit himself to the prosecution's sentencing recommendation.
Stephen TaubApril 8, 2004

Lea Fastow is going to trial after all.

A federal judge Wednesday rejected the plea bargain agreed upon between prosecutors and Fastow, a former Enron Corp. treasurer and wife of former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow.

As a result, Lea Fastow changed her plea to “not guilty.” Now Lea Fastow is headed for a trial, with jury selection scheduled for June.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner had hinted for months that he might not go along with the recommended sentence.

Under her plea deal, Lea Fastow would have served five months in prison and five months at home under court-sanctioned confinement. Since her imprisonment would have ended before her husband began his agreed-upon 10-year sentence, at least one of the Fastows would have been home with their young children at all times.

Hittner, however, said he saw no reason why Fastow should serve less than the 10 to 16 months in prison recommended by probation officials, according to Reuters.

He did not say what prison term he had in mind. If Lea Fastow is found guilty, however, she could receive a sentence of between 15 and 21 months, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Late Tuesday, Lea Fastow’s lawyers filed a six-page sentencing memorandum, complete with pictures of her sitting around a fire on the beach bundled up in sweatshirts and cuddling with one of her children. The overall theme: Lea is a family-oriented mom who has spent most of her adult life following around her fast-charging husband, Andrew Fastow, as he climbed the corporate ladder.

The memorandum tries to generate sympathy for Lea by noting that with her husband’s impending 10-year jail sentence, “she must face the reality of the future as a single parent.” It also points out that her plea agreement “calls for a sentence more harsh than most others in her situation.”