Why did the DOJ pursue EBS Employees?
The Mindset of Federal Prosecutors
In his book, Prosecutor John Kroger, in his own words, provides profound insight into the mindset of federal prosecutors. In the prologue on page 3, he makes the damning statement, "…my will to win, like that of all prosecutors, is personal and selfish…If we win, we will be heroes. If we lose, no one will ever trust us with a big case again."
If that isn't enough, he doubles down on the very next page by blatantly stating, "...in the United States today few people possess more power. As early as 1940, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson remarked that a federal prosecutor has 'more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America.' Since Jackson's day, that power has only increased. In the words of federal judge (and former AUSA) Gerald Lynch, 'Congress has cast the federal prosecutor in the role of God.' "
Other telling admissions are throughout the book. For example, on page 451, he admits, "AUSAs wield immense authority, but we operate in the shadows, with little public oversight."
The Enron Trials
Kroger admitted that, "The Bush team knew that if it failed to move aggressively on Enron, there would be a huge political price to pay. Indeed, the Bush administration had no political interest, as some folks on the left have alleged, in going easy on Ken Lay and company. On the contrary, it was motivated to get some scalps quickly." (Page 371)
(Page 393) "By August of 2002 the Enron Task Force had existed for eight months, and the
pressure on us for results was growing. We were working very hard, in my case, more than one
hundred hours per week. We were also making progress. To the public and the media, however,
it looked as if we were stalled. Every day on television CNN’s Lou Dobbs closed his Moneyline
show by displaying his sardonic “Enron Corporate Fraud Scoreboard.” The scoreboard showed
the number of days since the company’s bankruptcy and the total number of Enron arrests, a
number that seemed permanently fixed at zero. I cannot speak for anyone else, but Dobbs’s
smug and biting criticism got on my nerves – unprofessional, but true."
In short, he openly admits that the Enron prosecution was about politics, about political victories to enhance the political capital of the Bush Administration, and feed his own ego at the same time.
This abhorrent behavior was not limited to Enron. Case-in-point, the later Ted Stephens trial shows the same approach of falsifying evidence, etc.
That the prosecutors concocted a political witch hunt designed to force underlings to testify against Enron falsely is blatantly apparent. Regardless of any misbehavior elsewhere in Enron, the EBS platforms and products were real, and the revenue projections were presented honestly.
Nonetheless, their chosen means to get to Lay and Skilling was getting underlings, such as Ken Rice, Bill Collins, John Bloomer, and Shawna Meyer to lie under oath and support the prosecution's bogus claims about EBS.