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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Judge Accepts Lea Fastow's Plea Deal

Aired January 8, 2004 - 13:21   ET

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

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Houston, Texas is the dateline we're looking at right now, and we're talking about a plea bargain deal, a very important one, in the Enron case.
CNN business reporter Jen Rogers is there giving us the latest on how the Fastows turned.

Hello, Jen.

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Miles.

That is right, this is a very important plea bargain deal. What I can tell you right now I just left the courtroom of Judge Hintner (ph) here in Houston, and that he is saying that he will accept a plea of guilty from Lea Fastow. Now Lea Fastow is the wife of Enron's former CFO, Andrew Fastow. He is the alleged, alleged by the government, mastermind really behind the complex web of accounting deals that really brought down Enron a couple of years ago, of course, banishing lots of money that people had the stock market and laying off number of employees in Houston. A lot of pain from that.

Now, Judge Hintner said that he will be accepting this plea of guilty from Lea Fastow. He said she could come in as early as this afternoon to change her plea. Of course she has pleaded not guilty previously, as has her husband, to roughly 100 charges that he faces against him in two indictments that have been filed.

Now, what does this mean? Well, two trial dates are pending right now, one for Lea Fastow, and one for Andrew Fastow. With Lea's guilty plea, we have been talking to sources who say that Andrew Fastow is also negotiating with the government for some sort of agreement, and if that happened, if both of the Fastow's had a plea agreement with the government, likely cooperation would be involved there, and then, of course, Miles, the question becomes, what other dominoes could fall after that? Of course, people are certainly looking at the top of the government's most wanted list, which is Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay. No word from their lawyers on any of this. So of course, we will be contacting them shortly to see what testify to say -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Jen Rogers in Houston, we'll check in as soon as developments warrant. We thank you very much.

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