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Grand-jury witness list window to Qwest case
By Greg Griffin, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Thursday, December 15, 2005

At least 15 current and former Qwest officials and board members have testified before a grand jury in the criminal fraud and money-laundering case against former Qwest executive vice president Marc Weisberg, according to court documents.

The case is scheduled for trial beginning Jan. 3.  Prosecutors say Weisberg secretly took $3 million worth of stock from Qwest vendors for himself and others, including his son's basketball coach, his wife's personal trainer, his brother-in-law and his secretary.  Weisberg has pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys are seeking dismissal of the charges.

The list of those testifying before the grand jury, filed last month by Weisberg's attorneys and unsealed by a judge this week, and other documents filed in recent weeks show how the government's case is shaping up.

In addition to company founder and director Philip Anschutz and former director Hank Brown, the grand jury has heard testimony from former board members Jordan Haines, George Harad, Peter Hellman, Richard Liebhaber and Craig Slater.

Former Qwest executives who testified include general counsel Drake Tempest, marketing executive vice president Stephen Jacobsen and Internet executive vice president Lew Wilks.

Current Qwest general counsel Richard Baer and current board members Linda Alvarado and Cannon Harvey also testified.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that they plan to introduce more than 300 exhibits, including e-mails and letters to or from Anschutz, Tempest, Wilks and former Qwest president Afshin Mohebbi.  They also plan to call as witnesses Weisberg's former secretary, a top lieutenant and senior Qwest officials at the time he worked there.

The grand jury list throws light on how the Weisberg case may be intertwined with a criminal investigation into former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio.

Prosecutors may seek an indictment against Nacchio on insider-trading charges from a grand jury before the end of the year, according to sources familiar with the case.  Nacchio has denied any wrongdoing while he was at Qwest.

Legal experts have speculated that investigators are leaning on Weisberg to provide information that would help prosecute Nacchio.  Prosecutors have said the Weisberg case was an offshoot of the larger Qwest investigation and that the two cases aren't closely related in substance.

Nacchio's potential indictment may come up during a hearing Friday before U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn.  Among the issues to be discussed are witness lists, exhibits, jury instructions and potential juror questions.

Weisberg's attorneys, who did not return calls Wednesday, may want to ask potential jurors about their awareness of and opinions regarding the high-profile Nacchio case.

Staff writer Greg Griffin can be reached at 303-820-1241 or