Enron Defendants and Double Jeopardy

Sheesh, what a lousy article!

First, the article is written as if the SEC’s accusations against Enron Broadband defendant, Kevin Howard, are factual. But Kevin did not agree that any of the accusations were true in his settlement with the SEC. This is a classic SEC agreement in which the defendant agrees to remain silent on the accusations, but certainly does not agree with them. The SEC seldom goes to trial — it simply extorts what money it can from a defendant and then moves on to the next victim, like a blood-sucking mosquito.

Second, Kevin Howard had already been cleared of exactly the same charges by the DOJ in his criminal case after two trials and the threat of a third one. The plea deal Kevin eventually agreed to in the criminal case was a bookkeeping irregularity unrelated to the accusations the author mentions in her article.

All the primary Enron defendants faced exactly the same charges from both the DOJ and the SEC. This is clearly double jeopardy as the definition was actually intended. The DOJ and the SEC are clearly part of the same organization — the federal government — they even bragged about working together on the Enron prosecutions. The fact that one brings a criminal indictment and the other brings a civil complaint does not cure the abuse of the intent of the double jeopardy protections when the accuser is the same entity. Just about every thinking attorney admits that this is a double jeopardy situation, but nobody is able to stand up to the Feds to get it corrected.

Look, the U.S. Federal Government should be considered one party. The DOJ and the SEC routinely share information on cases and work together. Indeed, the two agencies routinely use the multiple exposures of the defendant as leverage in plea deal negotiations — this is precisely what they did to Kevin Howard and other Enron defendants. The fact that prosecutors get multiple conviction attempts against a defendant is particularly unsavory given the massive advantage in resources which the government wields.

I wish we could get some journalists to cover that injustice instead of quoting SEC talking points!

Cara Ellison

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