Risk Management

Enron Trial, Martha Sentencing Postponed

In one case, summer vacation intrudes; in the other, alleged perjury may prompt a retrial.
Stephen TaubJune 8, 2004

One judge postponed the start of the first scheduled Enron criminal trial while another judge postponed the sentencing of Martha Stewart, who has been convicted of obstruction of justice.

In Houston, U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, who will preside over the first scheduled Enron criminal trial, has pushed back the start of the proceedings to August 16. Werlein made his decision after lawyers informed him the trial will probably last longer than six weeks, according to the Associated Press.

The judge gave no reason for the change, which was made even as about 100 prospective jurors reported to the courthouse on Monday. The AP pointed out, however, that Werlein is scheduled to go on vacation on July 12.

The trial involves two former Enron executives and four former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives, who have been accused of conspiring to help manipulate the energy company’s books in 1999.

Meanwhile, in New York, Martha Stewart’s sentencing will be pushed back from June 17 to July 8 so her lawyers can present U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum with arguments for a new trial, according to Reuters.

“The motion for a new trial, expected to be made later this week, will contend that the jury was unfairly affected by the alleged perjury of government witness Larry Stewart,” defense lawyers Robert Morvillo and John J. Tigue reportedly said in a statement. (The two Stewarts are not related.)

Martha Stewart and her former stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, are each expected to receive 10 to 16 months in federal prison for lying about the circumstances surrounding Stewart’s sale of 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in late 2001, just before its price collapsed.

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