Former Enron Corp. chief executive Jeffrey Skilling wants to face a jury in Phoenix, Atlanta or Denver because too many potential jurors in the Houston area associate his name with words like "pig," "snake" and "evil," according to a court filing.
Such visceral reactions merit moving the as-yet unscheduled trial of Skilling, Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former top Enron accountant Richard Causey to cities that didn't absorb the emotional and economic impact of Enron's 2001 collapse, Skilling's lead trial lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli, wrote in a 75-page change of venue request filed Monday.
Skilling and Causey face more than 30 charges each including fraud, conspiracy and insider trading that allege they were in on various schemes to make investors believe Enron was healthy so they could pocket millions from sales of inflated stock.
Lay faces seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in a narrower case alleging he took over the financial ruse when Skilling abruptly resigned in August 2001. Lay also is charged in a separate case with four counts of bank fraud and lying to banks.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
Michael Ramsey, Lay's lead lawyer, joined Skilling's request in a separate filing Monday that noted, "we reluctantly but firmly urge it be done." Causey's lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Mark Hulkower, also joined the effort in another separate filing that added New Orleans as a fourth alternative city.
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