Judge Vacates Ken Lay's Conviction

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Enron founder Kenneth Lay's criminal record is now clean.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Lay's death this summer vacated his conviction. Lay had been convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges connected to the downfall of the once mighty energy giant.

Lay was convicted of ten counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks in two separate cases on May 25th. He died of heart disease July Fifth while vacationing with his wife, Linda, in Aspen, Colorado.

Enron's collapse in 2001 wiped out thousands of jobs, more than 60 (b) billion dollars in market value and more than two (b) billion dollars in pension plans.

Tuesday's ruling thwarts the government's bid to seek more than 43 (M) million dollars that prosecutors allege Lay pocketed from Enron's fraud.

The government could pursue those gains in civil court.

A Justice Department spokesman says the department will continue to pursue all remedies available for restitution on behalf of victims of fraud at Enron.