Sources: Enron’s Lay likely to be indicted

? Kenneth Lay, Enron Corp.’s founder and former chairman, could be indicted on charges stemming from its 2001 collapse by the end of June, sources close to the case told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said federal prosecutors were aggressively pursuing Lay, and witnesses with information about him have recently testified before a special grand jury probing Enron’s December 2001 collapse.

Barring any delays, federal prosecutors aim to ask the grand jury for an indictment before the Fourth of July, the sources said. The Houston Chronicle first reported the possible indictment in Saturday’s editions, citing unidentified lawyers close to the case.

It was unclear what kinds of charges would be filed against Lay, a friend and contributor to President Bush. The sources said any indictment would include conspiracy charges for allegedly participating in hiding Enron’s true financial condition before the energy trader collapsed into bankruptcy.

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and top accountant Richard Causey are awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy, fraud and insider trading.

Lay’s attorney, Michael Ramsey, said Saturday that he would ask to meet with the Justice Department’s Enron Task Force in the coming week.

“I feel very confident that Ken Lay did not commit a crime,” Ramsey said.

Bryan Sierra, a spokesman for the Justice Department, declined to comment Saturday on anything pending.

The sources said prosecutors likely were focusing on Lay’s actions and statements when he resumed as CEO upon Skilling’s abrupt resignation in mid-August 2001.