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Fifth Circuit denies Enron ex-CEO petition for rehearing

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] denied Thursday a petition for an en banc rehearing by convicted former Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Skilling [JURIST news archives]. Skilling's petition followed a ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] last month by a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit that upheld his previous convictions and ordered him to be resentenced due to error in the lower court. The court denied the petition for rehearing without comment. Skilling's laywer Daniel Petrocelli said that he plans to appeal [CNBC report] to the US Supreme Court.

Skilling's appeal was based on a previous Fifth Circuit ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that overturned convictions for other Enron executives based on "honest services theft" because they had acted in Enron's best interest by direction and did not profit from their actions. The panel ruled last month that Skilling's case differed from these previous rulings because "no one at Enron sanctioned Skilling’s improper conduct" and because Skilling's compensation structure was aligned with Enron's earnings. In 2006, Skilling was convicted [JURIST report] of 19 counts of conspiracy, insider trading, and securities fraud and is currently serving a 24-year sentence. Skilling initially appealed [JURIST report] his conviction in September 2007 claiming prosecutorial and judicial errors.

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