A federal judge upheld Enron Corp. auditor Arthur Andersen’s obstruction of justice guilty verdict, clearing the way for the accounting firm’s sentencing next month.
Lawyers for Andersen had asked U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon to overturn the jury’s June 15 verdict, arguing that the government had presented insufficient evidence and that jurors had based their decision on actions that were not criminal.
Harmon denied the request in an order signed Wednesday.
During the six-week trial, government attorneys contended Andersen shredded documents related to Enron, a now bankrupt energy trader, to hide financial irregularities.
Some jurors later said they found Andersen guilty based solely on an e-mail that in-house attorney Nancy Temple had written advising a partner to edit an internal memo about Enron’s financial disclosures.
A spokesman for the nearly defunct company, Patrick Dorton, said Andersen will continue to appeal after sentencing Oct. 16.
“We continue to believe the jurors’ statements after trial have indicated that the verdict was based on actions that were not a crime,” he said.
Andersen’s criminal trial was the first to emerge from last year’s dizzying collapse of Enron. Andersen, based in Chicago, stopped auditing public companies two weeks ago after 89 years in the business.