Fuhs ordered released pending appeal

A federal appeals court has ordered former Merrill Lynch executive William Fuhs released from prison pending his appeal of his 2004 conviction in connection with Enron's bogus sale of power barges to the brokerage.

Fuhs, of Denver, was one of five people convicted of helping push through Enron's sale of power plants mounted on barges to the brokerage in 1999 to help Enron appear to have met earnings targets. Four of the five were sentenced to more than three years in prison. The fifth had 2 1/2 years. All but one appealed.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the appeals earlier this month and issued the order for Fuhs' release on Thursday. The Houston Chronicle reported that Fuhs was expected to be released from a federal prison in Oklahoma City on Friday.

"Both his family and his lawyers are overjoyed that he is being released immediately and will be at home soon," David Spears, an attorney for Fuhs, told the newspaper.

Fuhs had filed a renewed motion for release pending the appeal after arguments were heard.