More than four years after he was acquitted on charges relating to misleading investors, a former Enron Broadband executive is free from criminal charges.
It was a long haul.
A jury found Scott Yeager not guilty of various counts of securities fraud and the judge declared a mistrial on insider trading and money laundering counts for which the jury could not reach a decision.
When the prosecutors sought to retry Yeager on some of the mistried counts, Yeager argued on interlocutory appeal that in acquitting him of securities fraud, the jury “necessarily found that he did not have insider information.” The 5th Circuit disagreed and Yeager appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that double jeopardy forbids retrial when the jury acquits the defendant on some counts, even if it fails to reach a decision on other counts, when the essential elements of the hung counts must have been addressed for the jury to reach an acquittal. (Oyez has a breakdown of the case and the Court’s opinion.)
Based on the Supreme Court’s remand, the 5th Circuit denied a request for supplemental briefing and ordered the lower court to enter judgments of acquittal on all aspects of the original indictment. (Opinion below.)
Houston Chronicle: [Yeager’s lawyer Tony] Canales said that the Enron Task Force prosecutors overcharged these cases more than six years ago and no one in the Justice Department since has had the necessary nerve to admit that. He said instead the government is still planning to retry one of Yeager’s codefendants and several men accused of fraud in a alleged scheme involving a Nigerian barge scheme.
A former U.S. Attorney in Houston, Canales said public pressure like that from TV personality Lou Dobbs, who counted the days until Enron executives were indicted, sometimes keeps prosecutors from doing the right thing.”
“They lost Andersen, they lost the broadband cases, they lost the barge cases. Nobody there is willing to say enough is enough,” Canales said, referring to past Enron-related trials.
This final nail in the coffin for the Yeager prosecution comes just a week after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of former Enron executive Jeff Skilling.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.