Skilling wins delay in starting sentence

From Bloomberg News

Former Enron Corp. Chief Executive Jeffrey K. Skilling, sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in a massive fraud that destroyed the company, won a last-minute delay of his sentence so a court could consider his motion for bail.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Monday issued a stay of the order requiring Skilling, convicted in May of securities fraud and conspiracy, to report to prison, according to court records.

"This order is entered solely to allow court to give careful consideration to the request for bail pending appeal," the ruling said. Skilling, 53, was to arrive at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minn., this afternoon.

Skilling, who maintains his innocence and said he was made a scapegoat, has asked to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction. Enron former Chairman Kenneth L. Lay, who was convicted along with Skilling, died in July before he could be sentenced.

"We are glad the court is taking the necessary time to consider our motion," Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling's lead trial lawyer, said in an e-mail.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Jaclyn Lesch declined to comment.

Skilling, who transformed Enron from a sleepy pipeline company into the world's largest energy trader before the company plunged into bankruptcy in 2001, is under house arrest in his 9,215-square-foot Mediterranean mansion in Houston's River Oaks section.

The house, valued on tax rolls at more than $5 million, will be sold to help Skilling pay $45 million in court-ordered restitution to his victims. He can give half the proceeds from the sale to his three children.

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