Prosecutors rested their case in the ninth week of the trial of former Enron Corp. executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
“By authority granted to me, I declare spring break,” Judge Sim Lake told the jury, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The defense will begin its case on Monday. According to the Associated Press, defense lawyers have sliced their witness list by more than half, to about 100. Both Lay and Skilling are expected to take the stand, probably in the second week, reported the Chronicle.
For its part, prosecutors presented 22 witnesses, including 8 former executives who have pleaded guilty to crimes, according to the Associated Press.
The prosecution’s case, at its heart, is that Lay and Skilling lied about Enron’s financial health to analysts and investors, and that they were aware of certain accounting ploys intended to artificially boost earnings. Defense attorneys have countered that the only fraud at Enron was perpetrated by a few rogue executives, including former chief financial officer Andrew Fastow, who enriched themselves at the company’s expense. They claim Enron’s failure was due to bad publicity and a subsequent “run on the bank.”
Lake also granted a government motion to dismiss three counts against Skilling and one count against Lay, all for securities fraud. “We elected out of economy and some other reasons” to get rid of the charges, said prosecutor Sean Berkowitz said, according to the Chronicle.
Skilling’s defense team moved for acquittal on a number of counts, which Lake immediately denied, according to the report.