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Nacchio guilty on 19 counts
By The Denver Post

Article Last Updated:  4-19-07  6:06:48 PM

A jury has found former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio guilty of 19 counts of illegal insider trading.

The Jury of eight men and four women acquitted Nacchio on the rest of the 42 counts filed against him.

Nacchio's attorney, Herbert Stern, immediately issued a statement saying Nacchio would appeal the conviction. 

As the verdict was read, the women on the jury cried as did Nacchio's wife and son.  Nacchio faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count of which he was found guilty.

"To anyone who's ever made a call from Qwest's service territory ... the term 'convicted felon Joe Nacchio' has a very nice ring to it," U.S. attorney Troy Eid said in a press conference outside the courtroom.

"The jury has spoken.  Make no mistake, my friend.  This is an overwhelming determination of guilt.  Nineteen counts.  Each count carries up to 10 years in federal prison."

During Nacchio's trial, federal prosecutors had argued that Nacchio dumped $100.8 million in Qwest stock during the first five months of 2001 while he had inside information that the company's finances were deteriorating.  They argued that he was repeatedly warned, beginning in late 2000, that Qwest would not make its publicly announced 2001 revenue targets but didn't disclose it.

Nacchio's defense attorneys maintained that the warnings he received were related to Qwest's internal targets and not the publicly stated numbers.  They said Nacchio had good reason to sell because some options were set to expire, and the Qwest board and Nacchio's own financial adviser had urged him to sell the shares.  They also maintained that Nacchio was exceptionally confident in the company's prospects.