Depositions can be pretty boring affairs. Back when we were in private practice, we once fell asleep during one.
But the deposition of Andrew Fastow, former chief financial officer of Enron, appears to have kept people awake. The Times offers an interesting and detailed account of Fastow’s “moment in the sun.”
This was our favorite part:
Tensions were high [on the] first morning [of the eight and a half days of testimony], according to several people who witnessed the deposition. About 30 lawyers packed into the main conference room, sitting on either side of Mr. Fastow. Almost 40 more watched on video feeds in two overflow rooms.
Suddenly, four shadowy figures with ropes appeared, hanging outside the windows of the main room, which had the blinds drawn. A marshal scrambled to the windows. One lawyer for a major bank said the figures resembled ninjas. It turned out they were window washers.
Wow. If four ninjas, secretly hired by the seven non-settling banks, had executed a hit on Enron’s ex-CFO — right before the start of his deposition, in view of some six dozen lawyers — that would have made it the most exciting deposition in history. (Even more exciting than this one.)
Instead, the Fastow deposition will have to settle for being one of the most expensive ever:
The deposition drew lawyers representing 10 major banks and top Enron executives who have not been charged with crimes. It was also streamed live over the Internet so law firms in New York, London and elsewhere could listen in.
With the typical lawyer in the case billing about $450 an hour, the legal fees just to follow the testimony could cost at least $2.1 million, and the overall price tag of the litigation is expected to reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
There have to be better ways to spend two million bucks than to blow it on making a middle-aged, grey-haired numbers guy walk lawyers through internal bank documents. Any ideas?
Fastow Gets His Moment in the Sun [New York Times]