Meter running on Nacchio trial costs
By Sara Burnett and
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
As the case of
v. Joe Nacchio goes on and on, each side's legal bills just keep
going up and up.
No one is saying what the tab is so far for either side or what
the final tally could be in light of an appellate court decision
to reverse Nacchio's insider-trading conviction and grant a new
But one thing is certain -- it won't be cheap.
"These cases are tremendously expensive, for both sides," said
James Rollin Miller, who heads the litigation group at MoyeWhite
law firm in Denver.
Taxpayers are footing the bill for the government's prosecution
of the former Qwest CEO, who was convicted last year of 19
counts of insider trading.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said Tuesday
the cost to the government isn't readily available. That's
partially because unlike a private law firm, where attorneys
bill by the hour, the government doesn't keep track of personnel
hours spent on a case.
But legal experts say the cost is probably in the millions of
Nacchio's bills are likely much higher.
Legal experts put the cost of Nacchio's criminal defense case at
tens of millions of dollars. Qwest paid for the pre-trial
and trial expenses because of a contractual obligation to
Qwest won't comment, but the
telco almost certainly will have to pay for Nacchio's legal
costs if there's a new trial.
Donna Jaegers, a telecommunications analyst with Janco Partners,
said her understanding is that "as long as he hasn't been found
guilty, they're still on the hook."
Qwest did balk at paying additional legal expenses once Nacchio
was convicted last spring, then worked out a deal not to pay
Nacchio's appellate attorney, Maureen Mahoney.
The settlement reserved the right for Qwest and Nacchio to go
after disputed legal expenses after the appeals process runs its
course. It's unclear, in light of Monday's reversal, if
Nacchio could get reimbursed by Qwest for Mahoney's expenses.
Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs said the company isn't commenting at
Several attorneys from Stern's New Jersey
firm, Stern & Kilcullen, worked on the case, as well as the Denver law firm headed by
The New Jersey attorneys
traveled frequently to
Denver for pretrial hearings, including
closed hearings to discuss classified evidence.