to move Qwest trial
Denver Post Editorial
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
Former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio wants to go home.
He describes himself as among the "most reviled" figures in
recent Denver history and is asking a federal judge to
transfer his upcoming trial to New Jersey, where he says
he'll find a less poisoned atmosphere.
Nacchio faces 42 counts of insider trading, and there has
been, he says, far too much pre-trial publicity.
Consider us skeptical, but his request probably has nothing
to do with the fact that his lawyer, Herbert J. Stern, was
formerly a federal judge and prosecutor in New Jersey. The
New Jersey U.S. attorney calls Stern a "mentor," and last
year he handed Stern an assignment to investigate fraud
allegations at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of
Given those connections, we wonder whether Nacchio's
maneuver is just an effort to get home-court advantage.
Nacchio says in court pleadings that a Denver trial would
mean his family would have to live away from their New
Jersey home to attend the trial. That would add to his
How about the personal burdens of Denver-area retirees who
might want to attend the trial, which will determine
culpability in an episode that led to the decimation of
their retirement funds?
Nacchio is accused of corporate fleecing of the highest
order. Prosecutors say he sold $100.8 million in Qwest
stock in 2001, even as he hid the company's financial
troubles. Thousands of employees lost their jobs as Qwest,
Colorado's largest company, nearly went bankrupt.
It's a high-interest case, and an important one. Yes,
people are going to be aware of it. But if Enron's Ken Lay
could get a fair trial in Houston, headquarters of a company
where 4,000 employees lost their jobs and many their life
savings, we're confident an impartial jury can be found
Indeed, Nacchio doesn't have nearly the name recognition of
Jurors called to serve in Nacchio's case will be asked about
any preconceived notions of Nacchio's guilt or innocence.
The presiding judge, Edward Nottingham, is an experienced
hand who is in line to be the circuit's next chief judge.
There is no reason to think the process won't work for
Nacchio as it has for any number of other high-profile
This is where the criminal acts are said to have occurred.
This is where the trial should be.
Editorials alone express
The Denver Post's opinion. The members of The
Post editorial board are William Dean Singleton, chairman
and publisher; Jonathan Wolman, editorial page editor; Bob
Ewegen, deputy editorial page editor; Todd Engdahl,
assistant editorial page editor; Peter G. Chronis, Dan
Haley, Julia Martinez and Penelope Purdy, editorial writers;
Mike Keefe, cartoonist; Barbara Ellis, news editor; Cohen
Peart, letters editor; Fred Brown and Barrie Hartman,