Lawyers for deceased former Enron Chairman Ken Lay want a judge to rule right away on whether to clear his name.
They say in court papers filed this week that U.S. District Judge Sim Lake should rule on the nearly two-month-old request because an effort by prosecutors to change federal law to preserve Lay's conviction bore no fruit before Congress adjourned.
Lay's lawyers had asked Lake to wipe Lay's record clean and dismiss the 2004 indictment against him because he died before he had been sentenced or launched an appeal. Lay was convicted May 25 of 10 counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks in two separate cases.
A 2004 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a defendant's death pending appeal erases an entire case because the defendant can't challenge the conviction.
If Lake approves the request, the government would no longer be able to seize, through the criminal case, alleged ill-gotten cash and property because a conviction on which to base forfeiture no longer exists. Prosecutors would have to chase Lay's estate in civil courts, along with other litigants.
Lay died July 5 of heart disease.
This whole thing stinks of Lay's evil stepchildren who are trying to glom onto whatever cash remains of the millions Stepdad deceived out of his employees and shareholders. And they need to do it before the Big Bad Government (that Stepdad helped install) experiences regime change.
If you haven't guessed, the predominant theory in Skimbleland is that he didn't die of "heart disease" but that Lay committed suicide.
And why should Lay's exoneration get on a fast track when justice has been anything but swift. Even if Lay were alive to be sentenced, the whole mess is taking place more than five years after the fact — a period in which inside trader Martha Stewart (a Democrat) had already been tried, sentenced and served out her term in full.
Fast track for imprisonment of living Democrats. Fast track for exoneration of dead Republicans.