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Press Conference by Attorney for Plaintiffs in Enron Case

Aired January 22, 2002 - 13:42   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now we do have some more developments now coming out of Houston.

Bill Lerach, who is lead attorney for Enron, speaking to the crowd.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BILL LERACH, PLAINTIFF'S ATTORNEY: ... agreed to an order where Andersen says we won't destroy any more documents, and in 20 or 30 days, we will file a report with the court to tell you what went on, and in our view, that's not enough relief, that's nod good enough. We want independent supervision of the documents in some way, and we want to question the Andersen witnesses. We don't want to be dependent on what Andersen says to us.

The chief accounting officer, the chief financial officer and the chief information officer.

About the disruption. These depositions would have to be limited to the evidentiary matters.

QUESTION: When you say CFO, do you mean past or the current?

LERACH: The current CFO.

Well, I mean, you're right, but at some point, if the FBI is in the building, I got to believe that these guys aren't going to destroy any more documents. I mean, if they do, I assume the FBI take them into custody.

Some damage has been done, for sure. Can the damage be undone? Don't know. The FBI said they thought they could put the shredded stuff back together, but I don't know whether they can or not.

QUESTION: You guys are asking for a court-appointed person to take care of the documents being controlled. In a best-case scenario for you, what would you like to see?

LERACH: Best-case scenario, I would like to see the documents come into a federal court depository here under the control of the U.S. marshals, and have a court-appointed forensic expert in how computer data is stored and can be retrieved, undertake to start restoring the Andersen-deleted e-mail. We don't know whether Enron deleted e-mail. All we know they shredded paper, but if they deleted e-mail, that's a whole other problem.

QUESTION: What would you like to see happen at Enron?

LERACH: I want to take the depositions of top people over at Enron and find out more facts, and then really make a final decision what we want to do.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) More than 70 lawyers working on contingencies, how much money do you think to go after...

LERACH: First of all, the court will enter in the next week or two appointing a lead plaintiff, and that lead plaintiff will have a law firm, and the number of law firms actively participating will go down substantially. There's lots of sources of recovery here, a billion dollars of insider trading proceeds, $400 million of insurance. Arthur Andersen has $9 billion in revenue a year, and as the case goes forward, several other institutions and firms are going to be named as defendants.

HARRIS: We're listening to Bill Lerach, who I misidentified as an attorney for Enron. He's actually an attorney working with the plaintiffs in the class-action suit being filed against Enron, and representing the employees who were hurt in the Enron collapse here. And we just got a bit of information from him. He's saying that what he's trying to get this court to decide, this court in Houston, is to get -- I'm sorry, the Andersen documents. These documents from Arthur Andersen, the accounting company, in the center of controversy. He wants these documents in some sort of federal depository, under control of U.S. marshals in Houston. And he also Wants to get forensic experts to begin immediately start to going through the computer system at Enron and perhaps, as well as Andersen. I didn't hear him say that. But wants them to start restoring any e-mails that may have also been deleted or destroyed in the process of the document destruction, and he also wants inside Enron and depose more people.

You also saw him in possession the videotape that we had on the side of the picture, he did have a box with him of shredded documents, and these are documents that are purported to have been shredded as recently as January 14th, well after the investigation into the collapse at Enron had begun, and that is a big source of the complaints that they've got against the company right now. They also are saying, Bill Lerach, is saying that there are lots of sources for recovery of these plaintiffs right now. He's saying there's the billions of dollars in sale proceeds from the stock that was sold by Enron executives in the past year or so, as well as some $400 million in insurance the company has, and it's obvious that he wants to target some of that money for his clients.

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