Prosecution Accuses Ebbers of Lying

    March 3, 2005

The prosecution accused WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers of lying to the jury after Ebbers denied knowledge of the company’s accounting fraud.

In the government’s closing argument to the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Johnson blamed Ebbers for the whole thing.

“When he said he was not sophisticated, not trained in accounting, he treated you no better than he treated ordinary shareholders. He lied right to your face. It insults your intelligence that Ebbers could have built the company up from nothing in ten years and still be clueless about its financial performance,” said the prosecution lawyer to the jury.

“Money, power and pressure corrupted Bernard J. Ebbers to commit fraud on a billion-dollar scale,” said Johnson. “WorldCom had truly become WorldCon. Bernie Ebbers was the leader of WorldCom and the leader of the con.”

A USA Today article explains:

“Over the course of three hours, Johnson highlighted the evidence the government had presented against Ebbers. He focused on testimony given by four former WorldCom executives who pleaded guilty to participating in the fraud: Troy Normand, Betty Vinson, David Myers and former CFO Scott Sullivan.

Though Sullivan was the only witness who directly linked Ebbers to the fraud, Johnson noted that the other cooperators bolstered key elements of Sullivan’s testimony.”

Ebbers faces up to 85 years in prison if found guilty.

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