The Association of U S West Retirees



Ex-Qwest accountant fights freezing of case
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A former Qwest accountant facing civil fraud charges is fighting the government's effort to freeze his case until the conclusion of the criminal case against former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio.  Kevin Evans, attorney for former accountant James Kozlowski, argued in a court filing Tuesday that his client should have the earliest opportunity to resolve his case and that prosecutors haven't proven why that would adversely affect their insider-trading case against Nacchio.

Last March, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against seven former Qwest executives, including Nacchio and Kozlowski.  Evans has consistently maintained his client's innocence.  A status hearing will be held Thursday.

Separately, New York attorney Charles Stillman recently filed a motion to withdraw as Nacchio's counsel.  Federal Judge Marcia Krieger denied the motion on a technicality Tuesday, but it eventually is expected to be approved.

Nacchio switched to New Jersey attorney Herbert Stern shortly before Thanksgiving and started pursuing a national security defense.  The strategy says Nacchio possessed confidential information that made him optimistic about Qwest's prospects.

One source familiar with the situation said Stillman wanted to keep the strategy in reserve as a possible last-minute surprise to prosecutors but Nacchio didn't want to wait.,2777,DRMN_23916_4395362,00.html