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Arthur Andersen Found Guilty of Obstruction of Justice

Aired June 15, 2002 - 11:28   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to go to our CNN's "MONEYLINE's" Lou Dobbs. He is on the telephone with us now to give us a sense, Lou, of what this might mean for Arthur Andersen. Are they finished at this point, or at least what happens to the some 10,000 employees that are still working for Arthur Andersen?

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE": Fredricka, Andersen was indeed, as Fred Katayama reported, delivered a death sentence when the indictment was handed down on the 14th of March. The fact is this is simply the end of a process of absurdity and, in my judgment, a gross abuse of government prosecutorial power, and I believe that the days and weeks ahead will demonstrate that as we've already learned in this trial.

The fact is that this verdict is the least surprising verdict I've ever seen in a case after the judge handed down the instructions yesterday. The fact is, it was a direction that the 12 men and women on this jury could see three different people in different ways and find the firm guilty.

What it also means is this firm would not have -- this jury would not have even convicted David Duncan, who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, because they had differing views of precisely who it was who might have committed a crime.

So it's a remarkable instruction, an unremarkable verdict given that instruction, but it has been illuminating to see this case unfold over the course of the past six weeks.

I think we're going to be hearing a great deal about it. The fact is that with a deadlock at eight days, the trial taking six weeks, a verdict coming on the 11th day, I think there's also some vindication here for the 26,000 innocent employees of Arthur Andersen, and I think the prosecution will have a lot of explaining to do in the days and weeks ahead.

WHITFIELD: At the same time, Lou, do you see that this might possibly embolden the government in its ensuing pursuits of any other charges or any other individuals they may be seeking out as it pertains to Arthur Andersen?

DOBBS: I don't think that -- this is a Justice Department that has been working now for seven months on this case, which really has nothing to do with Enron except the documents themselves. This case has been nothing but a distraction, a diversion, and has nothing to do with convicting or investigating and trying culpable people at Enron.

And in point of fact, here we are eight months after the investigation began, and the only person -- the only person charged has been the person handed up by Andersen themselves, which is David Duncan. The Justice Department has yet to indict or charge a single person in this investigation, whether at Enron, or Andersen, or anywhere else.

WHITFIELD: All right. CNN "MONEYLINE's" Lou Dobbs. Thank you very much for joining us on the phone.

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