Case: Yeager v. United States
Date: Monday, March 23, 2009
Issue: Whether, under the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause, a jury's verdict that a former Enron executive was not guilty on some counts bars the government from retrying him on other counts on which the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Background: A decade ago F. Scott Yeager was on top of the world. He was the Senior Vice President of Strategic Development at Enron Broadband Services (EBS), a unit of Enron Corporation which was the seventh largest company in the country. And then it all came crashing down. The government alleges Yeager (and other EBS executives) used his position to distribute false information about advances in EBS's development of sophisticated broadband technology. As Enron's stock price continued to rise Yeager was unloading his shares. But a jury acquitted him on charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. It couldn't reach a verdict on five counts of insider trading and eight counts of money laundering. The government is looking to retry Yeager on those charges but he says that can't happen because it would be a violation of his Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. So far lower courts have ruled against Yeager's attempts to avoid further prosecution.