[JURIST] US District Judge Sim Lake ruled Thursday that prosecutors in the trials of Enron [JURIST news archive] founder Kenneth Lay [Chronicle profile] and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Chronicle profile] cannot use recorded audio tapes [JURIST report] of Enron employees discussing strategies to manipulate electricity prices because of their inflammatory nature. Lake, however, said he would allow testimony by Richard Sanders, Enron's in-house counsel, about a meeting where Sanders and Skilling discussed the Enron traders' plans to manipulate California's energy markets. Though neither Lay or Skilling are charged [PDF indictment] with manipulating the California market, prosecutors say that the manipulation was part of the defendants' efforts to hide the company's failing financial condition. The trial is scheduled to begin January 30, but lawyers for Lay and Skilling have asked that Lake move the trial [JURIST report] out of Houston or postpone proceedings so that the defendants have access to an impartial jury pool. AP has more. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.