Enron's Lay confident trial will turn out 'fine'
Trial starts Monday in Houston after defense motion to move venue away from Houston is denied.
HOUSTON (CNN) - Enron founder Ken Lay told CNN Sunday he is "very optimistic" about his coming trial and "ready to go" despite a judge's denial last week of his attorneys' request for a change of venue.
The attorneys sought the change because of vitriolic comments made by potential jurors on questionnaires. The trial begins Monday.
"I'd prefer it wouldn't be denied," he said as he arrived at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Houston. "It's whatever it is, and we're ready to go."
"We're going to have a long trial and a tough trial," he said, "but we're going to be fine."
Lay and former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling are charged with fraud and conspiracy. Skilling also faces charges of insider trading and lying to auditors.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 after investigators found it had used partnerships to conceal more than $1 billion in debt and inflate profits.
The bankruptcy filing by Enron, once the country's seventh-largest company, cost 4,000 employees their jobs and many of them their life savings, and led to billions of dollars of losses for investors.
Enron's collapse was the first of many high-profile scandals that also included WorldCom, Global Crossing, Adelphia Communications and Tyco International. The wave of fraud led to passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation meant to tighten auditing oversight of U.S. companies.
Lay and Skilling's trial was originally set for Jan. 17, but was rescheduled for Monday after the federal judge granted the defense a delay.
-- From CNN Producer Brian Vitagliano