The following is from the February 3, 2006, edition of Reuters.
By Dan Whitcomb
Prosecutors inflicted considerable damage against ex-Enron chiefs Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling with their first witness, legal experts say, but the defense was certain to be gunning for him when the trial resumes on Monday.
Former Enron investor relations chief Mark Koenig, who testified on Wednesday and Thursday, recounted what he called lies and manipulated earnings reports, and being in the room when Skilling -- on a tape recording played for the jury -- cursed an investor for asking too many pesky questions.
. . . Andrew Fastow, who siphoned off millions of dollars in profits from off-the-books deals, and 15 other former Enron executives who have pleaded guilty to Enron-related crimes are expected to testify against Skilling and Lay in the coming weeks.
That lengthy parade of witnesses presents a challenge for both prosecutors and defense attorneys, said Alan Bromberg, law professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Prosecutors must worry that jurors will wonder why so many government witnesses have something to gain for their testimony, he said, while defense lawyers must convince the jury that all 16 are lying -- and that only Skilling and Lay, who face decades behind bars if they are convicted -- are telling the truth.
Skilling and Lay have both vowed to take the witness stand in their own defense, a move that experts say carries heavy risks, especially for two men who walked away from Enron's collapse rich men, testifying in downtown Houston just blocks from the former Enron towers.