WorldCon: Ebbers Trial Starts

The Bernie Ebbers Show has come to Manhattan, where for next few weeks, federal prosecutors are going to try and prove their case – Bernie Ebbers is nothing more than a broadbandit who oversaw the collapse of WorldCon, by telling one lie after another. Defense, well, they will say, where is the beef. After all, there is no document support to these allegations. You see, Bernie was pretty smart about these things – he never used email, and conducted most of his business on the phone. (More details, in Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist. ) The New York Times is following the trial closely:

Mr. Ebbers knew WorldCom’s “books were cooked,” charged David Anders, the United States attorney leading the government’s case, because “he told people to do it” as early as the year 2000. “This wasn’t just the problem of Bernard Ebbers, the C.E.O.,” Mr. Anders told the jury at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, “but Bernard Ebbers, who owned millions of shares himself.” Contributing to his motive to lie, Mr. Anders said, was the fact that Mr. Ebbers had pledged millions of his WorldCom shares as collateral for personal loans.

Defense is pointing fingers are Scott Sullivan, the accounting maven, who is prosecutor’s ace, and has already cut himself a back-saving-deal. (Innuendo intended!) “David Myers, a former WorldCom controller who pleaded guilty to fraud charges, has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a potentially shorter sentence,” The Times adds. “In a classic criminal case, the prosecution attacks the defendant and the defendant attacks the proof, The proof is the prosecution’s witness,” Roland Riopelle, a former former federal prosecutor who practices at Secarz & Riopelle told The New York Daily News. Clearly, Bernie is trying to fool the jury pretty much the same way he fooled investors and the Wall Street idiots. Using his aw-shucks charm and personality. New York Post puts it best when it writes,

Think Forrest Gump in the boardroom. Ebbers — nothing more than a gifted salesman — had the same kind of luck in life. The 63-year-old cowpoke went on trial yesterday for conspiracy and fraud. If convicted he could spend 30 years in jail, which probably means he’ll be headed straight from the pokey to Boot Hill.