Lay's Enron Conviction 'Abated' Due to Death

Former Enron executive Kenneth Lay has been cleared of his fraud and conspiracy conviction. A federal judge in Houston made the decision based on a precedent known as abatement, which allows convictions to be eliminated when a defendant dies before he can appeal.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Yesterday, a federal judge in Houston dismissed convictions for fraud and conspiracy against former Enron executive Kenneth Lay. He was tried and convicted in Houston this spring on charges related to the collapse of the giant energy trading company in 2001.

The decision was based on the precedent known as abatement, which allows convictions to be vacated if a defendant dies before he can exercise the right to appeal his case. Investors and employees lost billions of dollars in the collapse of Enron. The U.S. government says now this will make suits for restitution against Kenneth Lay's estate more difficult.

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