Feds eye ex-exec's
Attorney could be government witness in Weisberg case
By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
In an unusual twist, federal prosecutors say the lead attorney of indicted former Qwest executive Marc Weisberg could be a potential government witness.
In court filings Friday, prosecutors said they intend to introduce evidence related to Denver attorney Gary Lozow's conduct in late 2002 and 2003 during a Qwest internal investigation of Weisberg.
That could mean Lozow might have to disqualify himself as Weisberg's attorney.
Weisberg's legal team, which is fighting the admissability of the evidence, said the government is raising a "contrived issue."
Weisberg, a former Qwest executive vice president of corporate development, was indicted in February on charges that he secretly pocketed low-priced stock from company suppliers from 1999 to 2001. He faces eight counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. Prosecutors also are seeking $2.9 million in alleged profits.
Lozow has represented Weisberg since 2002. At issue are statements Lozow made to Qwest counsel and people investigating Weisberg's investments in 2002-03, according to the federal court filings by the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The government also wants to admit as evidence a memorandum of a conversation Lozow had in November 2002 with the then-chief executive of Tellium, a Qwest vendor.
The memorandum and details of Lozow's statements have been filed under seal.
"It's unfortunate the government has chosen to make reference to matters that are under seal," Steve Peters, Weisberg's co-counsel, said Monday. "This is a tactical measure by the government to deprive Mr. Weisberg of his Sixth Amendment right to the lawyer of his choosing and to interfere with and make it more difficult for Mr. Weisberg to prepare his defense."
The issue was to be heard Dec. 16, just 2 1/2 weeks before Weisberg's scheduled Jan. 3, 2006, trial.
Weisberg's attorneys have asked for an expedited hearing so they'll know as soon as possible whether Lozow can continue as lead trial counsel.
Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado, said he would let the government's court filings speak for themselves.
Separately, Weisberg's attorneys are trying to dismiss allegations in the indictment that he spent $155,000 to make repairs on his vacation condominium in the Cayman Islands and transferred $350,000 through two investment accounts to buy a Mercedes.
Weisberg's attorneys argue that the allegations are "gratuitous and irrelevant accusations that serve only to inflame the jury."
The government argues that both are examples of Weisberg's money laundering.