Character Witnesses Follow Ken Lay's Testimony

Enron founder Ken Lay wrapped up testimony in his fraud and conspiracy trial with co-defendant Jeff Skilling. Several character witnesses have followed. Houston Public Radio's Ed Mayberry reports. Aired 5/3/06 during the KUHF Morning Business Report.

Click to Listen

Ken Lay is being followed by character witnesses, including former Houston mayor Bob Lanier, who spoke of Lay's efforts to raise corporate money for Toyota Center. Astros owner Drayton McLane talked of Lay's help in getting a referendum passed to build a new baseball field.

Lay ended his sixth day on the stand explaining his personal finances for 2001--the year that Enron collapsed. When the value of Enron stock dropped, banks would make margin calls and require Lay to pay-down loans secured by Enron stock. He would sell stock back to the company to raise cash.

Prosecutor John Hueston noted that former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan had no deal with the government and was serving the final months of his prison sentence for Enron-related crimes. But Lay said the government encouraged Glisan's cooperation through solitary confinement.

Hueston said Lay's investment into Photofete should have been disclosed to Enron based on its own Code of Ethics. The company, started by a former girlfriend of Jeff Skilling, had business ties with Enron. Lay said "rules are important, but you should not be a slave to rules."

Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...