Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Briefs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Morning Briefs

Article excerpt

ENRON'S LAY, NOW DEAD, HAS CONVICTION VACATED

A federal judge Tuesday vacated the conviction of Enron's late founder Kenneth Lay, wiping out a jury's verdict that he committed fraud and conspiracy in one of the biggest corporate frauds in U.S. history.

Lay was convicted of 10 counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks in two separate cases on May 25. Enron's collapse in 2001 wiped out thousands of jobs, more than $60 billion in market value and more than $2 billion in pension plans.

Lay died July 5 while vacationing in Aspen, Colo.

U.S. District Judge Sim Lake, in a ruling Tuesday, agreed with Lay's lawyers that his death required erasing his convictions.

They cited a 2004 ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found that a defendant's death pending appeal extinguished his entire case because he hadn't had a full opportunity to challenge the conviction and the government shouldn't be able to punish a dead defendant.

Tuesday's ruling thwarts the government's bid to seek $43.5 million in ill-gotten gains prosecutors allege he pocketed by participating in Enron's fraud.

The government could still pursue those gains in civil court, but they would have to compete with other litigants, if any, also pursuing Lay's estate.

Associated Press

DOLLAR TREE OPENS ITS 12TH LOCAL STORE

Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., a Virginia-based retailer, opened a new Jacksonville location Monday. The 10,000 square-foot store is located at the Northside shopping center River City Marketplace.

This is the 12th Dollar Tree location in the Jacksonville area, according to Dollar Tree spokesperson Brandon Bryce.

As of July 2006, Dollar Tree operated 3,156 stores in 48 states. During the second quarter, Dollar Tree opened 47 stores and expanded or relocated 18 stores.

Diana Middleton/The Times-Union

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