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U.S. opposes a clean slate for Lay

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HOUSTON — Federal prosecutors will oppose a request by lawyers for Kenneth Lay to legally clear the late convicted Enron Corp. founder's name.

Lawyers for Lay's estate filed court papers Wednesday formally asking a judge to erase Lay's convictions and dismiss the indictment against him because he died before he had appealed. Lay was convicted of 10 counts of fraud, conspiracy and lying to banks in two separate cases on May 25, and died of heart disease July 5.

However, a one-sentence addition to the filing revealed that prosecutors aren't willing to rubber-stamp the request.

The filing noted that Lay's attorney Michael Ramsey had "conferred with (prosecutor) Kathy Ruemmler who indicated the government will oppose this motion."

If U.S. District Judge Sim Lake clears Lay's record, that would thwart the government's bid to seek $43.5 million in ill-gotten gains prosecutors allege he pocketed by participating in Enron's fraud. The government could still pursue those gains in civil court, but they would have to compete with other litigants, if any, also pursuing Lay's estate.