Judge rejects proposal by Nacchio's defense
Written questionnaire for potential jurors viewed as 'overkill'
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, March 2, 2007
Joe Nacchio's attorneys were rebuffed Thursday in their request
to submit their own written questionnaire to potential jurors.
U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham also said the government
could prosecute its case in eight days -- rather that 12 to 15
-- based on an apparently short witness list.
The prosecution's witness list was submitted to the judge and
defense privately and wasn't immediately disclosed publicly. It
will be up to the judge when to release the witness list.
Nottingham may be concerned that it will be more difficult to
select an impartial jury if the witness list becomes public
Neither the defense nor the prosecution commented after the
short pretrial hearing, which was followed by a 90-minutes
closed session dealing with classified information.
Nottingham plans to question potential jurors himself and has
already sent out written questionnaires to screen out biased
parties. He said he didn't think an additionally written
questionnaire from the defense was necessary.
"It's overkill, in most cases," Nottingham said, adding that
most of the questions will be posed by him in open court, where
attorneys will be able to observe the demeanor of a potential
Jury selection is seen as a critical aspect of the case.
Earlier, Nacchio's attorneys were unsuccessful in a bid to move
the trial out of state because of the publicity over the case.
Curtis Kennedy, an attorney for the Association of U S West
Retirees, attended Thursday's pretrial hearing.
Kennedy said the retirees group has passed on 12 to 20 names to
the prosecution as potential witnesses. Those are people who
lost hundreds of thousands of dollars each when Qwest stock
plummeted from $66 a share in March 2000 to $1.09 in August
Legal experts say that such witnesses will help drive the
prosecution's point that there were victims to Nacchio's alleged
crime. After Nacchio left, Qwest erased more than $2.5 billion
of revenues and profits from its 2000 and 2001 books.