Skilling Charged With Intoxication
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Convicted former Enron Corp. chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling was arrested by Dallas police nearly two weeks ago for public intoxication, according to lawyers briefed on the incident.
Authorities took Skilling, 52, into custody Sept. 9 on the misdemeanor charge, the sources said, confirming a report on the Web site of the Houston Chronicle last night. Skilling is to be sentenced next month on 19 fraud, false-statement and insider-trading charges in connection with the collapse of the Houston energy-trading company he once led.
The arrest marks the second publicly reported alcohol-related incident for Skilling, who was taken to a Manhattan hospital 2 1/2 years ago after passersby called police to report a person who appeared "disturbed," according to New York City police records. Prosecutors later filed court papers asserting that Skilling had fought with patrons outside an Upper East Side bar and that Skilling's blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit. A magistrate subsequently ordered him to attend an alcohol treatment program.
The Justice Department's Enron Task Force, informed of the Dallas arrest this week, declined to comment. U.S. District Judge Simeon T. Lake III has allowed Skilling to remain free on $5 million bond, agreeing with a recommendation by the probation department that Skilling seek additional treatment.
Skilling, who has vowed to appeal his fraud conviction, faces the prospect of decades in prison when he is sentenced on those charges Oct. 23.
Daniel M. Petrocelli, a lawyer for Skilling, said in an e-mail that his client is "doing his best to cope with a nearly impossible situation." Skilling, he said, had alcoholic drinks while eating in a restaurant and later went for a walk near a condominium he owns in Dallas, where he was stopped by police in the early morning.
The misdemeanor intoxication charge involves moderate fines and does not carry prison time, the Chronicle reported. The Houston paper also reported that Skilling was given a $385 ticket and briefly jailed.
During his fraud trial this year, Skilling grew emotional discussing his feelings of despair as Enron plummeted toward bankruptcy. Skilling told the jury, sometimes tearfully, that he struggled with alcohol abuse and sought out a psychiatrist.