[JURIST] US District Court Judge Sim Lake [Chronicle profile] has ruled that the Enron trial [JURIST news archive], set to begin January 30, will remain in Houston. In a ruling handing down late Monday, Lake denied the request [JURIST report] by former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay [Chronicle profile] and ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Chronicle profile] to move the fraud and conspiracy trial due to the responses of potential jurors regarding their knowledge and feelings of the case and their experience level in legal and financial matters. Lay and Skilling argued that the trial should be moved outside Houston after recent jury questionnaires contained negative comments and because of the potential impact that the guilty plea [JURIST report] of former top Enron accountant Rick Causey [Chronicle profile] may have on the jury. Judge Lake said, however, that there are efficient safeguards in place and agreed to question jurors based on their responses when they arrive to court Monday. Lay and Skilling are also petitioning to have the trial postponed after prosecutors said they planned to drop 35 counts against Skilling last week, arguing that a grand jury's approval on the change is necessary before the trial can move forward. The Houston Chronicle has local coverage.