Do As I Do, Not As I Say

Fastow plea deal contradicts the feds' policy

Although the edict makes an exception for defendants giving "substantial assistance" to the government, indications are that cooperation is being sought from Andy, rather than Lea, against other Enron biggies.

Both Berg and Hilder predicted Lea's attorneys had little option but to trust that Hittner would accept the deal once the question of judicial independence was out of the way. However, at press time it appeared that the Fastows had rejected that course and the plea agreement was off, setting the stage for a trial.

Berg recalls a case in the '80s where federal Judge Carl Bue refused to accept a three-year plea bargain Berg had worked out for a client who had stolen $30 million in oil and then sunk a ship to cover up the evidence. Bue eventually imposed a ten-year sentence.

DeGeurin and his client get caught in a judicial wringer.
Tim Fleck
DeGeurin and his client get caught in a judicial wringer.

Berg notes his client served three years, and then walked away from a minimum-security penitentiary and was never seen again.

"I think he just decided, 'Look, I'm going to enforce my own plea bargain,'" chuckles the attorney.

After all their humiliation and stress, the Fastows might like to disappear from the face of the earth, too. But with two kids in tow it doesn't appear to be an option.

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