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Nacchio 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.

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