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Nacchio not interested in speedy trial
Former Qwest CEO seeks time to ready complex defense
By Jeff Smith,
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Indicted former Qwest Chief Executive Joe Nacchio wants his case to be declared complex, meaning it won't be subject to a 90-day speedy trial.  The motion, filed by Nacchio's attorneys Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Denver, is fairly routine.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Denver, confirmed that federal prosecutors don't oppose the motion.

Nacchio was indicted late last month on 42 counts of insider trading.

He is charged with selling more than $100 million of Qwest stock during the first five months of 2001 while knowing the Denver telco wasn't doing nearly as well as what was stated to investors.  Nacchio has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The next pretrial hearing is scheduled in front of District Judge Edward Nottingham on Jan. 20.  Nottingham is expected to address the latest motion but may or may not set a trial date.

Defense attorneys often can get a year, and sometimes even years, to prepare for a complicated criminal trial if they offer evidence they need the time to adequately defend their client.

Nacchio, who once was on a President George W. Bush-appointed telecommunications advisory panel, has indicated he wants at least in part to pursue a national security defense, arguing he possessed confidential information that made him optimistic about Qwest's government business and prospects.

Nacchio's attorneys are requesting national security clearance so they can find out about the information Nacchio possessed.

Some experts have said the strategy may create problems in terms of what evidence the jury is allowed to hear, and that could set the stage for grounds for an appeal if Nacchio is convicted.

But others argue a national security defense doesn't make a lot of sense because it also would rely on inside information Nacchio possessed.

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