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Judge dismisses 4 counts against former Enron executives

[JURIST] A federal judge Tuesday dismissed three counts against former Enron [corporate website; JURIST news archive] CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Houston Chronicle profile] and one count against company founder Kenneth Lay [Houston Chronicle profile], shortly after the prosecution rested in the fraud and conspiracy case [indictment, PDF; DOJ Enron trial materials] against the pair. According to Skilling's attorney, US District Judge Sim Lake dismissed one count of wire fraud and two counts of securities fraud against Skilling, giving him 28 remaining counts, and also dropped one securities fraud count against Lay, leaving him with six counts. The dismissed charges involve crimes that allegedly occurred in the first quarter of 2000, for which prosecutors did not present evidence. AP has more.

Prosecutors Tuesday ended nearly nine weeks of testimony including that of 13 former executives, some of whom have already pleaded guilty or settled the charges against them. The government used tapes of conference calls with Wall Street analysts, videos of employee meetings, and testimony by witnesses to argue that Skilling and Lay continually lied about the financial stability of the fallen company. The defense is scheduled to begin its case on Monday and both Skilling and Lay, who have denied any wrongdoing, are expected to testify. AP has more.

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