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Enron's Jeffrey Skilling could get out of prison early

April 04, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • Attorney Daniel Petrocelli, right, puts his arm around former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, left, as they leave the federal courthouse in Houston after Skilling was sentenced to 292 months in federal prison.
Attorney Daniel Petrocelli, right, puts his arm around former Enron CEO… (David J. Philip / Associated…)

NEW YORK -- Jeffrey Skilling, the former chief executive of defunct energy giant Enron Corp., could win early release from prison in a deal with the Justice Department, according to a report Thursday.

CNBC said Skilling's attorneys and the Justice Department were discussing a deal, but that it was unclear how much his sentence could be shortened. Skilling, who was convicted on charges of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading, has been serving a 24-year sentence since 2006.

Quiz: How well do you remember 2012?

In 2010, the statute used to win Skilling's conviction was found to be unconstitutionally vague by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court's ruling narrowed but did not overturn the federal "honest services" law, which the federal government has used in prosecutions of politicians and business leaders.

An federal appeals court later affirmed Skilling's convictions, and last year the high court declined to hear Skilling’s appeal of that ruling.

CNBC noted that the Justice Department has posted a notice alerting victims in the Enron case about the sentencing talks. A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The notice, posted on the department's website, asks for victims' views on a sentencing agreement with Skilling by April 17.

Before its collapse, Enron played a key role in California's energy crisis more than a decade ago.

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