Skilling Attorneys: Feds Withheld Key Evidence

By Scott Cohn, CNBC Senior Correspondent

Attorneys for jailed former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling say the government illegally withheld key evidence that would have proven he is innocent.

In court papers just unsealed on Friday, Skilling's attorneys say prosecutors withheld and in some cases doctored evidence from the key witness against him, former Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow.

Fastow testified that he had secret side deals with Skilling to hide Enron's losses. But the notes from the FBI's initial interviews with Fastow allegedly show otherwise. Skilling attorney Daniel Petrocelli calls it a "shocking" example of prosecutorial abuse.

A federal appeals court will hear oral arguments in Skilling's case on April 2. Skilling has been in a federal prison in Minnesota since late 2006, serving a 24-year sentence for his role in Enron's collapse.