Jury Resumes Deliberations for Lay and Skilling

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Jurors resume deliberations today in Houston in the federal fraud and conspiracy trial of Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling.

The eight women and four men began their talks yesterday after hearing one last plea from a prosecutor for convictions of the two men.

Both are accused of perpetuating an overarching conspiracy to hide Enron's financial woes in a web of lies that painted the failing company as healthy.

Jurors wrapped up their first half-day of deliberations yesterday after about two-and-a-half hours.

Skilling awaits the verdict, but Lay goes on trial today in Houston -- again before U-S District Judge Sim Lake -- in a case related to his personal banking. This trial will be without a jury.

In that case, prosecutors contend Lay obtained 75 (M) million dollars in bank loans from 1999 through 2001, then reneged on pledges not to use the money to carry or buy stock on margin stock.

He's charged with one count of bank fraud and three making false statements.