HOUSTON – A verdict has been reached in the Houston trial of former Enron chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
— Was once the nation's seventh-largest company
— Considered an innovative new-economy maverick and admired as a top stock performer
— Collapse cost thousands of jobs and billions in losses.
— Enron's crash and scandals sent investors fleeing, prompted stiffened white-collar penalties and upped regulatory scrutiny over publicly traded companies.
— Biggest fraud case to emerge from the scandal
— Lasted 16 weeks and featured 54 witnesses for both sides
— Lay and Skilling testified in their own defense
— Says Lay and Skilling felt rules didn't apply to them
— Says they used "half-truths, omissions and outright lies"
— Asked jury of eight women and four men to convict on all counts
— Contends that most of the eight ex-Enron executives who cut plea deals and testified against them admitted to crimes they didn't commit
— That executives lied about the defendants' culpability in hopes of gaining lenient punishments
— Skilling faces 28 counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors.
— Lay faces six counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming mostly from the period after he resumed as CEO upon Skilling's departure in 2001.
— Both pleaded not guilty.
— If convicted, they could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in penalties.