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Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2002 / Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5762

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Consumer Reports


Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts



Blames blunder on his accountant


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- SAYING his accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, was never good with numbers, former ENRON chief, Jeffrey Skilling mistakenly invoked his Fourth Amendment rights in front of a congressional panel hearing testimony on the ENRON scandal.

"My bad," admitted the beleaguered zillionaire. "I should have gone to my attorney first or at least double-checked the advice from Arthur Anderson, but you get used to things."

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution reads in part, 'The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."

"It's a good amendment and all," said Constitutional scholar, Michael Shapiro, "but it just doesn't apply in this case. This is just a shot in the dark, but I believe Mr. Skilling meant to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. That would've made more sense and wouldn't have made him look like such an ass."

"You could have stuck me with a fork and called me Mary," said the surprised and delighted committee co-chairman, Chairman James C. Greenwood (R-Pa.). "I thought I'd split a gut when he came up with the Fourth thing. You'd never get me testifying within a mile of the truth in front of me and these other posturing blowhards on the committee."

Arthur Anderson auditor and former 5th Amendment invoker, David Duncan, expressed surprise but not responsibility for the gaffe. "To tell you the truth, I thought we shred up the Fourth Amendment weeks ago."



JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful," Tallfellow Press, 2002 Comment by clicking here.

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© 2001, Steve Young