Enron Jurors Settling In

Jurors in the fraud and conspiracy trial of former Enron chiefs Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling are now into their second week of deliberations and yesterday gave hints that we should not expect them to reach a verdict soon. Apparently, and you probably shouldn't quote me on this, in addition to trial transcripts and an exhibit log, they have asked for canning jars, a Chia Pet, a flat-screen television, a copy of next fall's network primetime lineup, some throw pillows and paint samples.

In normal circumstances, today, the jury's last day of scheduled deliberations before a long, holiday weekend, would be a natural decision day for a group of folks who must be drooling at the prospect of ending their ordeal. At the very least, you would think, the foreperson in the hope of wrapping things up, would try to arrange a vote before the end of the day to see where folks stood on the charges. But that presumes a relatively simple case, not a complex one involving two defendants and loads of dense, technical testimony. Someone once told me a good rule of thumb for deliberations is one day for each week of testimony at trial-- that would put us into the second week of June before these guys come back.

Jurors earlier this week told the judge that they do not intend to deliberate tomorrow or Monday, Memorial Day. Now, just that level of detail on scheduling makes you think that jurors believe they still have enough to get through in deliberations to make it into next week, at least, before they either reach a verdict or decide they cannot. But wait. Don't necessarily go down that road. Jurors in the Moussaoui case did the same exact thing and then came back quickly with their recommendation of a life sentence for creepy terrorist.

So there is still hope for today. Don't underestimate the pull of a worry-free long weekend for jurors. And just imagine how long a weekend it truly will be for Lay and Skilling if the panel doesn't finish up its work today.

By  |  May 25, 2006; 9:45 AM ET
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