Attorney: Eichenwald missed story in Lay coverage
John Hueston, a partner at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles and the former lead prosecutor at the trial of disgraced Enron CEO Ken Lay, now says that former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwaldâ€™s writing about the Lay case â€œmissed the mark,” according to a story in Corporate Crime Reporter.
In 2003, Eichenwald wrote a story on the front page of the Times’ business section that laid out Lay’s defense strategy, claiming that Lay only sold Enron stock under duress and believed in the company until the very end. That strategy was also included in Eichenwald’s book about Enron’s collapse. Eichenwald recently left the Times to join Conde Nast Portfolio.
â€œMy impression is that Eichenwald’s premise was that Lay and Skilling, though arrogant, were not criminals,â€? Hueston told Corporate Crime Reporter in an interview this week. â€œThey instead created a culture where crime could occur. My view was that that premise, though accurate in important respects, missed the mark. Both Skilling and Lay were more directly involved â€“ the book failed to identify any such evidence. Having said that, it is certainly no fault of his because he didn’t have our access to evidence and witnesses.â€?
â€œEichenwald in his article â€˜Company Man to the End After Allâ€™ referenced documents that he claimed supported the theory that Lay sold only under financial duress,â€? Hueston said. â€œAfter reviewing documents prior to trial, it was difficult for me to understand how he could come to that conclusion. . . Mr. Lay had shared documents with Eichenwald. My conclusion was that Eichenwald did not see all of the documents that prosecutors reviewed.â€?
Hueston said Layâ€™s defense counsel made the same mistake that Eichenwald made â€“ and Lay paid for it.
Read more here.