Former Enron Chief Executive Jeffrey K. Skilling succeeded in having 10 years sliced off the prison sentence he received for his role in the spectacular demise of the energy giant and will go free as early as 2017.
U.S District Judge Sim Lake in Houston announced at a hearing Friday that Skilling will serve 14 years instead of the 24 years he originally received. He was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts including insider trading, conspiracy and securities fraud.
The ruling was expected after a proposed sentencing agreement was submitted to the court this week. As part of the accord, Skilling has agreed to give up rights to further appeals and to let his convictions stand. He is also giving up claims to the $40 million he was ordered to forfeit, which will be handed over to victims of the fraud.
The Justice Department has said it was willing to agree to a reduced sentence as a way to end a lengthy series of legal battles with Skilling’s team of lawyers.
“Mr. Skilling will no longer be permitted to challenge his conviction for one of the most notorious frauds in American history,” the department said in a statement last month.
Some legal scholars have speculated that prosecutors felt pressure to make a deal after facing allegations of misconduct surrounding a specially formed Enron task force and other negative publicity. Skilling’s attorneys were planning to seek a new trial based on that alleged misconduct.
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