[JURIST] CNN is reporting that the jury in the 16-week criminal fraud and conspiracy case against Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling [Houston Chronicle profiles] has found both defendants guilty. Lay and Skilling were charged [final redacted indictment, PDF] with multiple counts of fraud and criminal conspiracy for providing investors with false and misleading financial information from 1999 up until Enron filed bankruptcy in late 2001, but the defense remained steadfast throughout the trial in their complete denial of guilt. Jury deliberations began six days ago [JURIST report] after the judge agreed to lower the standard of proof [JURIST report] usually employed in fraud trials so that Lay and Skilling could potentially be convicted of "deliberate ignorance." Read part 1 [PDF] and part 2 [PDF] of the jury instructions and the verdict form [PDF].
Skilling faces 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors and a maximum of 275 years in prison [PDF document] if convicted on all counts. Lay faces six counts of fraud and conspiracy with a combined maximum punishment of 45 years [PDF document]. Lay is also defending himself in a related bench trial against charges that he violated loan promises when he borrowed $75 million and used some of the money to buy Enron stock.
12:47 PM ET – The jury convicted Lay on all six fraud and conspiracy counts, and convicted Skilling of 19 out of 28 securities and wire fraud and insider trading counts. He was found not guilty of nine counts of insider trading. CNN has more.