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Former Enron Exec, Wife May Be Tried At Same Time

Jul 29, 2003 | AP

Former Enron finance chief Andrew Fastow, who has fought to get a case against his wife postponed until after his own trial, is now opposing a suggestion from prosecutors that the two face tax and fraud charges at the same time.

Fastow, 41, tried earlier this month to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt, who is presiding over his case, and U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who is presiding over his wife's narrower case, to schedule his trial as early as January and postpone hers to begin after his concludes.

Lawyers for Andrew Fastow and his wife, Lea, argued that his testimony is critical to her case, but he cannot testify on her behalf until after his trial, which has yet to be scheduled, on many more counts of masterminding accounting schemes at the energy company. Hittner, who had denied a similar request from Lea Fastow's attorneys, stood firm that her trial be scheduled for Jan. 27. He had ruled that a glimpse into sealed testimony proffered by Andrew Fastow was a ``self-serving, non-incriminating affidavit.''

Late last week, federal prosecutors offered another scenario schedule Andrew Fastow's trial for Jan. 27 as well. Andrew Fastow's team wants Hoyt to hold off on setting a trial date for two more months while both sides continue sifting through millions of documents to prepare their cases.

Hoyt heard arguments for an hour in a closed hearing Monday, but an attorney in the case said the judge made no rulings or decisions.

Andrew Fastow faces nearly 100 counts of fraud, insider trading, money laundering, conspiracy, filing false tax returns and obstruction of justice for allegedly running schemes to rake in millions of dollars for himself, his family and selected friends and colleagues at the expense of Enron and its investors. The arrangements involved complicated partnerships that also helped Enron hide debt and inflate profits.

On May 1, an indictment was unsealed charging Lea Fastow, a former assistant treasurer at Enron, with six counts of money laundering, conspiracy and filing false tax returns for her alleged role in one of the schemes. Prosecutors say they both failed to report income from the deal to the government.

In a separate Enron-related case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Campbell said Monday that prosecutors anticipate adding ``one or two defendants'' to a 218-count indictment charging seven former Enron executives with fraud relating to the energy company's failed broadband unit.

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