The Association of U S West Retirees



Nacchio argues for dismissal
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, June 23, 2006

Joe Nacchio's attorneys reiterated Thursday that insider-trading charges against the former Qwest chief executive should be dismissed and cited grand-jury testimony by former Qwest President Afshin Mohebbi to support their position.  In a wave of court filings, Nacchio's attorneys also rebutted government assertions that they have exaggerated the complexity of the criminal case to delay a trial until next year.

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado, declined comment about the latest responses filed in Denver federal court.

Nacchio faces 42 counts of insider trading in connection with selling $100 million of Qwest stock in the first five months of 2001.  Prosecutors argue Nacchio accelerated his stock sales after gaining insider information that the Denver telco's business was faltering.

Prosecutors have requested a fall trial, but a date hasn't been set.

Nacchio's attorneys argue the grand jury that returned the indictment last December was unfairly swayed by prosecutors and wrongly instructed about insider trading.

They cite a grand juror who wanted to know Mohebbi's opinion about Nacchio's state of mind at the time.  Mohebbi testified he had told Nacchio he was uncomfortable with Qwest's financial guidance.

"I can tell you what he told me, which is, 'I heard you, I don't agree with it,' " Mohebbi testified.  "He said a number of other things:  'You know, you don't know things;  you don't know everything that I know;  we're not changing the numbers.' "

Nacchio's attorneys claim the testimony shows Nacchio didn't dump Qwest stock based on the belief the business was weakening.

Rather, they argue, the testimony shows Nacchio possessed classified information unknown to Mohebbi.  Nacchio maintains he possessed such information through his work with a national security panel that made him optimistic about Qwest's ability to land lucrative business with the federal government.,2777,DRMN_23910_4795497,00.html