Bethany McLean, the Enron-busting Fortune reporter who co-wrote The Smartest Guys in the Room, is dating the man who put Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling away. The fetching, recently divorced McLean, who covered the trial, is now seeing the lead prosecutor in the case, Sean Berkowitz, an assistant U.S. attorney from Chicago. “They started dating after the trial concluded, and after Bethany’s coverage of Enron was complete,” a Time Inc. spokeswoman e-mailed in response to an inquiry to McLean.
None of her fellow Enron-trial reporters question McLean’s professionalism, but post-trial, the relationship did seem unusually chummy. One notes that McLean attended Berkowitz’s birthday party in Chicago, held ten days after the verdict, and she was considered to be notably sympathetic to the prosecution’s case.
If you question the characterization of their relationship as “unusually chummy,” then check out the photograph that appears after the jump.
We think this is a nice picture:
The unidentified “friend” is Sean Berkowitz. The photo was taken on May 31, 2006; the Enron jury returned its verdict a few days earlier, on May 25.
So this pic doesn’t establish any impropriety. But it clearly shows the two were “unusually chummy,” shortly after the verdict.
Sean Berkowitz no longer works for the government. After being wooed by numerous large law firms, the veteran prosecutor joined the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins.
Since he’s no longer an AUSA, nothing stands in the way of Sean kicking his relationship with Bethany up a notch. We’ll repeat a question we posed earlier this month: Does anyone know if they’re still an item? If so, how serious are they?
(If they are serious, here’s something to think about. The diamond industry tells us — self-servingly, of course — that a man should spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring. The average profits per partner at Latham are $1.6 million. Berkowitz is a new partner, so he’s probably coming in well below the average. But if we assume that his annual draw is, say, $1 million, then he should spend about $170,000 on a ring. Nice ring.)
Bethany McLean and Friend [Flickr]
The Happiest Gal in the Courtroom [New York Magazine]
The Young Litigators Fab Fifty [The American Lawyer]
Sean M. Berkowitz bio [Latham & Watkins]
Biz Markie — Just a Friend [YouTube]