prosecutors want fall trial in state
By Joanne Kelley
Rocky Mountain News
Saturday, June 3, 2006
Government prosecutors in the insider trading case against
former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio asked a judge to move forward
with a fall trial date and to keep the high-profile case in
Colorado. Nacchio's attorneys had asked the court to delay
a trial until June 2007, citing the case's complexity and
also questioning whether the U.S. District Court in Denver
has jurisdiction in the case.
"The defendant exaggerates the complexity of this case and
should not be rewarded for his own tactical decision to
switch counsel after four years, on the eve of his
indictment," U.S. Attorney William Leone told a judge in a
court filing Friday.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in
Colorado, declined to comment on the filings. An attorney
for Nacchio could not be reached for comment late Friday.
Federal Judge Edward Nottingham earlier indicated he likely
would set a trial date at a hearing this month.
Nacchio's attorneys had argued the case should not be tried
in Colorado in part because of the "pervasive negative
publicity" against Nacchio.
His lawyers also argued that the Denver court lacks
jurisdiction in the case because the stock trades were made
out of state.
But prosecutors countered Friday that Colorado has
jurisdiction for several reasons, including: Qwest's
headquarters are in Denver; Nacchio's office was based
here; and Nacchio acquired in Colorado most of the
nonpublic information alleged in the indictment.
Former Enron Corp. executives argued unsuccessfully to have
their trial moved outside of the Houston area to a city
where the company's collapse had less of an economic impact.
A federal grand jury indicted Nacchio in December on 42
counts of insider trading involving $100 million of Qwest
sales in 2001. The charges followed a long-running federal
probe of Qwest.
In another court filing Friday, the prosecutors also
disputed Nacchio's allegations that the government engaged
in misconduct that improperly influenced the grand jury
decision to indict Nacchio on insider trading.
Prosecutors also this week told a judge that defense lawyers
need to be more specific about classified information they
may want to use.
In a court filing Thursday, Leone said Nacchio's lawyers
must identify what material they plan to use so the judge
can determine whether information should be redacted.
Leone requested a hearing on the matter.
Defense attorneys have suggested Nacchio may have known
about lucrative national security work that could have made
him optimistic about Qwest's future.
A pretrial conference is set for June 9.
+ 5 cents
kelleyj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5068