The US Supreme Court had been sided with the former chief executive officer Mr. Jeffrey Skilling in limiting the use of a federal fraud law that has been a favorite of white-collar crime prosecutors.
The Supreme Court in this said ruling also sided with the former newspaper entrepreneur Conrad Black, setting aside a federal appeals court decision that had upheld Black’s honest services fraud conviction. But as in Mr. Skilling’s case, the justices left out the ultimate resolutions of the case to the appeals court.
The supreme court said that Thursday that the ‘honest services’ laws could not be used in convicting Skilling for his role in the 200 collapse of the energy company Enron that cost thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in her majority opinion that the ruling does not necessarily require Skilling’s conviction to be overturned.
During the arguments in between December and March, a number of justices seem inclined to limit prosecutors’ use of this law, which critics have said is vague and has been used to make a crime out of mistakes and minor transgressions in the business and political world.
The Supreme Court, all at once, rejected Mr. Skilling’s claim that he did not get a fair trial in Houston because of harshly critical publicity that surrounded the case in Enron’s hometown.
And from Thursday’s ruling could affect the present prosecution of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The government disagree that both Skilling’s and Black’s conviction should be sustained, even with the court’s ruling Thursday.