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HOUSTON -- A federal appeals court has taken under advisement a request for a new trial for the ex-CEO of disgraced energy giant Enron.

Attorneys for Jeff Skilling yesterday asked a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals to grant him a new trial. The defense, during the hearing in Houston, cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Skilling s attorney says puts his conviction for conspiracy and securities fraud in question.

The high court in June ruled that an anti-fraud law was improperly used to help convict Skilling in 2006 for his role in Houston-based Enron s downfall. The company sought bankruptcy protection in 2001.

But prosecutors say the instructions given to the jury were harmless because the evidence against Skilling was overwhelming.

Prosecutor Doug Wilson said the 19 convictions for conspiracy, securities fraud, insider trading and lying to auditors should stand.

Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years.

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