Risk Management

Prosecutors May Appeal Fastow’s Term

The ex-CFO of Enron had previously agreed, under a plea arrangement, to a 10-year prison term.
Stephen TaubOctober 13, 2006

Prosecutors may appeal the six-year prison sentence recently handed to former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow, according to The Houston Chronicle.

The brevity of the term reportedly stunned former Enron employees. Fastow had previously agreed to a 10-year sentence under a plea deal.

The shorter sentence appears to have been awarded to the ex-finance chief for his testimony in the trials of former Enron chief executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling.

Earlier this week, according to the Chronicle, prosecutors asked the judge in a filing for access to the sealed transcript of a September 25 conference held in the judge’s chambers with Fastow’s attorneys and members of the Enron Task Force. The newspaper also reported that it had asked U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, who is presiding over the case, for the transcript to be unsealed.

“The government is currently assessing whether to file a notice of appeal of the sentence imposed on Mr. Fastow, and it cannot make that determination without a copy of the transcript of the pre-sentencing hearing,” prosecutors reportedly said in a recent court filing.

The newspaper, however, noted that the government didn’t object to either written or verbal requests by Fastow’s lawyers for a lesser sentence despite his earlier deal.

At the same time, prosecutors do indeed know what happened in the conference with the judge, since Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hueston attended the meeting. Nevertheless, the prosecutors need the transcripts to file the appeal, according to the paper’s account.

Houston trial lawyer David Berg told the Chronicle that the government’s consideration of an appeal could be a reaction to the widespread outrage communicated in the Houston community over what seems to be a relatively skimpy prison sentence. “They conveyed to the judge in a way lawyers would clearly understand that they were fine with whatever he did during the hearing,” Berg told the paper. “Now they are reacting to the adverse publicity the sentence received afterwards.”

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