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Prosecutors want to keep Nacchio trial in Denver
The Denver Business Journal
by Bob Mook
Saturday, August 19, 2006

Federal prosecutors in the case against Joseph Nacchio are asking a U.S. District Court judge to keep the trial in Denver, despite claims from Nacchio's lawyers that the former CEO of Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc. can't get a fair trial in the city.

Nacchio's attorneys earlier this month requested a change of venue, saying he's considered one of the "most reviled figures in recent Denver history."

But prosecutors said the defense's argument for moving the trial relied "almost exclusively" on selective quotes from newspaper articles.

"While press coverage of Qwest and the defendant has not been insubstantial, it has been neither inflammatory nor prejudicial.  In fact, the majority of the examples proffered by the defendant are objective, factual and contain no mention of the defendant by name;  a good proportion of the coverage is of ordinary court proceedings and motion practice," stated U.S. Attorney Troy Eid in a motion opposing the change of venue.

Eid went on to say a vast majority of potential jurors in the Denver jury division won't consist of former Qwest employees.

The prosecutor also dismissed claims from Nacchio's attorneys that holding the trail in Denver places a significant burden on Nacchio, who lives in New Jersey.

"The defendant is a man of substantial means," Eid stated.

Nacchio is accused of selling $101 million in stock in 2001 based on inside information that the Baby Bell wouldn't be able to meet revenue targets.

Federal prosecutors say Nacchio and other former Qwest executives perpetrated financial fraud on investors.  The company later was forced to restate about $2.2 billion in revenue.

Robin Szeliga, the former chief financial officer for Qwest, was sentenced July 28 to two years on probation, six months of home detention and a $250,000 fine for her role in Qwest's accounting scandal.

Szeliga, who pleaded guilty to one count of insider trading, is expected to be a key witness in the government's case against Nacchio, who was indicted on 42 charges of insider trading in December.

A pretrial hearing for Nacchio is scheduled for Aug. 25.