[JURIST] Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling [Houston Chronicle profile], whose testimony in his own defense came to a close on Thursday, maintained his innocence on fraud and conspiracy charges [PDF indictment; DOJ trial materials] and defended his actions in the wake of Enron's financial collapse in 2001. Skilling spent the first four days of testimony responding to inquiries from his own attorney, before being questioned by lead prosecutor Sean Berkowitz. The prosecution's questioning focused on the conflict between Skilling's testimony and the testimony of several former Enron executives who earlier testified against him [JURIST report] in exchange for lesser sentences; Skilling contends that they are not guilty and testified only to escape prosecution [JURIST report]. During Berkowitz' questioning, Skilling admitted that investments he made in a company with Enron contracts and owned by a former Enron employee and ex-girlfriend may have violated Enron ethics policies.
Also on Thursday, Skilling's lawyers questioned several character witnesses who testified in defense of Skilling and company founder Kenneth Lay [Houston Chronicle profile; defense website], who is being tried with Skilling. On Monday, the defense will present one more character witness before Lay takes the stand in his own defense. AP has more.