By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, January 26, 2007
Federal prosecutors have
asked a retirees group to help identify potential witnesses
who suffered large financial losses after buying Qwest stock
during the first five months of 2001. Prosecutors also are
trying to identify people who may have seen or heard former
Qwest Chief Executive Joe Nacchio made statements about the
Denver telco's ability to meet its financial targets or Wall
The request came recently to the Association of U S West
Retirees, which has tens of thousands of members.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office for
Colorado, declined comment about the request, which comes
just two months before Nacchio is scheduled to go on trial
on 42 counts of insider trading.
Nacchio is accused of selling $101 million of stock during
the first five months of 2001 while knowing that the
company's financial condition was weakening. He denies
Chris Bebel, a former federal prosecutor in Texas, said the
prosecutors are employing a good strategy to put victims on
"This personalizes (the case)," Bebel said, adding that
"gut-wrenching stories" by people who lost their life
savings also were used effectively in the Enron criminal
"It causes the jurors to view this in a less academic,
abstract manner and fully understand the massive financial
cruelty that stemmed from the alleged impropriety," Bebel
But if prosecutors don't have such witnesses yet, they are a
bit late in looking for them Bebel said.
Prosecutor Colleen Conry, who served on the Enron task
force, will be meeting with potential witnesses, according
to a letter to retirees from Curtis Kennedy, attorney for
the Association of U S West Retiree.
Nacchio's trial is set to start March 19 in Denver.
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