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Deal could cut decade from Jeffrey Skilling's Enron prison sentence

May 08, 2013|By Andrew Tangel
  • Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling, center right, and his attorney, Daniel Petrocelli, center left, arrive at the federal courthouse in Houston for Skilling's sentencing hearing.
Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling, center right, and his attorney,… (David J. Phillip / Associated…)

NEW YORK -- Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling could get a decade lopped off his prison sentence in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department.

Skilling has spent more than six years in federal prison following his 2006 conviction in Enron's massive corporate fraud.

The now-defunct company played a starring role in the energy crisis that swept through California and other Western states before Enron's epic implosion in 2001.

Skilling challenged his 24-year sentence and, after a series of court rulings, struck a deal with federal prosecutors that would reduce his sentence to a range of 14 to 17.5 years, according to court documents filed by the Justice Department.

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Ending the legal battle would "significantly expedite" distributing more than $40 million to Enron's victims, the Justice Department said in its filing. The recovery comes from Skilling's assets.

“Today’s agreement will put an end to the legal battles surrounding this case," Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement.  "Mr. Skilling will no longer be permitted to challenge his conviction for one of the most notorious frauds in American history, and victims of his crime will finally receive the more than $40 million in restitution they are owed."

The agreement still requires a federal judge's approval. It could lead to Skilling getting out of prison in four or five years, if he is awarded credit for time served and good behavior, his attorney told Bloomberg News.

Skilling's new sentencing is scheduled for June 21.

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