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Deal would reduce sentence for Enron’s Skilling

HOUSTON — Convicted former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s more than 24-year prison sentence for his role in the once mighty energy giant’s collapse could be reduced by as many as 10 years if a federal judge approves an agreement reached Wednesday between prosecutors and defense attorneys.

Under the agreement, which Justice Department officials say includes a previous court-ordered reduction of as much as nine years, Skilling’s original sentence would be reduced to between 14 and 17.5 years.

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The agreement still needs the approval of US District Judge Sim Lake, who is set to hold a June 21 hearing in Houston to make the final decision on the length of Skilling’s sentence.

Daniel Petrocelli, Skilling’s attorney, said the agreement ‘‘brings certainty and finality to a long, painful process.’’

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the agreement would allow victims of Enron’s collapse to finally receive more than $40 million in restitution.

The ongoing status of the case has so far prevented the government from distributing Skilling’s seized assets to victims, according to the agreement.

Skilling was convicted in 2006 on 19 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading, and lying to auditors for his role in the downfall of Houston-based Enron.

The company collapsed into­ bankruptcy in 2001.

Skilling has been in prison since December 2006.

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