Just heard the news at the top of the hour on Air America. Seems Kenny Boy, even in death, has managed to skate away from justice:
Former Enron CEO Ken Lay maintained throughout his fraud and conspiracy trial that he was an innocent man — a man who never should have been charged, never should have been indicted, and certainly never should have been convicted. After his death from a heart attack early Wednesday, it’s almost as if he wasn’t. Legally, his case died with him.
By law, Lay had a constitutional right to participate in his criminal appeal. And since he’s no longer alive to help his attorneys prepare, the case will be “extinguished” — as if it never happened, explains Houston attorney Joel Androphy, author of the textbook White Collar Crime. “It’s as if he was never charged and convicted,” says Androphy. “This is the law. There may have been a moral victory for the government, but there’s no longer a legal victory.”
Lay’s death won’t stop the civil suits filed against him, however. In a civil case, a person can die and the case can go on; for example, if someone is killed in a nursing home, the family can sue. But Androphy says there will now be some restrictions limiting punitive damages. It’s unclear if Lay’s estate will be responsible for his criminal fines. Last week, prosecutors asked for $43.5 million.
Last week? LAST WEEK???
My gosh, it’s as if the little slimeweasel died right on cue, isn’t it. Yeah, tell me he didn’t do himself in. After all, it’s not as if he had no motive:
“The entire tragedy almost takes on Shakespearean dimensions,” says David Berg, a Houston attorney who authored The Trial Lawyer: What it Takes to Win. “His fall from power was so great that it just destroyed him. In some ways, you would think that Ken Lay would rather have died than spent a moment in prison.” Lay, who was awaiting sentencing in the fall, faced imprisonment for possibly the rest of his life. “On some subconscious level, it’s a polite form of suicide. He was not going to let himself be imprisoned.”
“Polite form of suicide”?
Pardon me while I throw up laughing. This isn’t a “polite suicide”, this is a final fuck-you to all the people he screwed to get to where he did.
Let’s hope the civil suits against his estate recoup a little something for those people. They need it a lot more than Lay’s heirs ever will.