Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Schmuckiest Guy in the Room

We're in week 12 of the Enron trial of Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, and NPR has been doing a great job of covering it (here, here and here). This marks the second week that Jeff Skilling, former CEO of the company, is on the witness stand. He's currently getting grilled by the assistant US attorney on the case, Sean Berkowitz.

While the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room left me shocked and appalled at the complete lack of morals, the narcissism, and the greed in these men (and it's really too bad that Andy Fastow was able to plead out), I cannot help but be disgusted by the continuing hubris of Skilling. On the stand, Berkowitz hounded Skilling about why he, his wife and his girlfriend (he's a real class act) all sold their stocks before the complete tank. Skilling claimed it was coincidence. During the break, Skilling cracked to the judge that his brothers approached him and asked how come they never got a call about the impending crash (Skilling's brothers lost money on Enron stock). About half the court room laughed (Berkowitz did not look amused, apparently). Dude. You are on trial for all manner of accounting fraud, insider trading and for costing thousands of employees their life savings. Perhaps now is not the time to crack a joke.

I hope Skilling and Lay get what they so richly deserve.

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