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Enron Top Officials Found Guilty of Fraud and Conspiracy

Bethany Mclean of Fortune Magazine reports on the guilty verdict former top officials, Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, former top officials. They were convicted of fraud and conspiracy Thursday for their role in the company's 2001 financial collapse.

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  • BETHANY MCLEAN, Fortune Magazine:

    Hi, how are you?


    Fine. Take us inside the courtroom. What happened?


    Well, there was pandemonium inside, with people trying to get into the courtroom before the verdict was announced. And everybody was on their feet, and the marshal had to yell to ask people to sit down.

    And then everyone was seated, and there was silence as the jury — after the jury filed in. And as they began to read — as Judge Lake began to read the jury's verdict, beginning with the guilty charge on the first count of conspiracy for Jeff Skilling, you could hear audience members, clearly family members, start to cry. And one of the jurors…


    What about Jeffrey Skilling? What was his reaction when he first heard the first "guilty"?


    It was strange. I didn't see him at the first "guilty," but I looked over at him during the process of the "guilties," and he actually had an odd grin on his face. And his lawyer, Dan Petrocelli, had his arm on Skilling's back, rubbing his back, but it was almost an odd, bemused, confused kind of smile.


    All right. I interrupted you. You said then a juror did something? What?


    The jury was clearly emotional about the verdict. This was not a jury that looked at Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling as cartoon characters, as caricatures of evil. They clearly saw two men and two men whose lives they held in their hands.

    And, as they said later, it was a very emotional process for them, and you could see that as the verdict was announced. One juror had her head down in her hand, and she looked as if she was tearing up.