Court rejects Skilling's bid to stay free pending appeal

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, lost his bid to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans on Tuesday revoked a stay issued the day before so it could consider his request. The court didn't specify when Skilling, convicted in May of securities fraud and conspiracy, must report to prison. Skilling, 53, is to serve his term at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Waseca, Minn.

"Skilling raises no substantial question that is likely to result in the reversal of his convictions on all of the charged counts," the federal appeals court said.

In revoking its stay, the court said it found weaknesses in Skilling's conviction, citing a previous court decision that may help the former CEO overturn some of the jury's verdicts.

Skilling maintains his innocence and said he was made a scapegoat.

Defense lawyer Daniel Petrocelli said that Skilling's formal appeal of his conviction would be filed in February or March.

Petrocelli didn't say whether Tuesday's ruling would be appealed to the full U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, to the U.S. Supreme Court, or both. He also didn't say whether Skilling had already entered prison. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website said that Skilling was "in transit."

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