Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Enron Broadband Trial...

Today I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at the Enron Broadband trial. This was my first time in a Federal court proceeding, so it was quite interesting. This particular trial is complicated because there are a total of 5 defendants, and 12 defense attorney's - in addition to the team of federal prosecutors.

The testimony I was there for was not exactly the most interesting stuff - the direct and cross of a software engineer about the technical specifics of some of the Enron Broadband Services (EBS) services and the commercial viability of those products (or potential products). But it was a great opportunity to see the attorney's (both prosecutors and defense) in action, and to get to observe District Judge Vanessa Gilmore's courtroom.

Three of these defendant's (Joe Hirko, Scott Yeager, and Rex Shelby) are primarily related to the software/tech side of this case, while the other two (Kevin Howard and Michael Krautz) are involved on the financial side of EBS. It appears as if Howard and Krautz could have been tried separately - since to this point in the 9 week trial about 5 days of testimony have actually been related to their charges. But the federal prosecuters determined that it was a better case bound together. The Chronicle noted the lack of attention to Howard and Krautz in this article last week.
"I think the government itself is so convinced that Michael Krautz has nothing to do with the conspiracy that they don't bother to give me copies," said Krautz's lawyer, Barry Pollack.
The courtroom audience is used to seeing the back-table guys give each other not-again looks every time they are ignored — which has been about a dozen times a day in this section of the trial.
"It's hard being a spectator watching this other case being tried," said Jim Lavine, one of Howard's two lawyers. "It's like I'm on the outside looking in."
Lavine's co-counsel, Jack Zimmermann, from time to time stands up and renews an ongoing objection on behalf of Howard and Krautz that the testimony being given has nothing to do with them. Sometimes Zimmermann has to speak up or raise his arm a few times to get attention from the court.

The Chronicle has a special section on Enron here, and as a part of that, a section on the Enron Broadband trial here.

In addition, Houston's Clear Thinkers has an extensive amount of coverage and analysis of the trial here.

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