Observers await result of Nacchio appeal
The decision of a three-judge panel could come any day. The
ex-Qwest CEO was found guilty last April.
By Andy Vuong
Friday, March 7, 2008
Nearly a year after the criminal insider-trading trial of former
Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio, jurors, shareholders and
retirees are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the appeal on his
A decision could be forthcoming any day, although there is no
time limit for an appellate review. The three-judge panel,
which heard oral arguments in December, can uphold the
conviction, grant Nacchio a new trial or acquit him on all
Most of the trial's 12 jurors and six alternates have kept in
close contact since the verdict was rendered last April, said
juror Anna Garduno.
They created a Nacchio jury e-mail list and reach out to one
another often, sharing stories about their families. More
recently, they've asked for updates on the case. Garduno said
she would be disappointed if the verdict were reversed.
"For all 12 of us, more like 18, it would feel like a waste of a
good six weeks," Garduno said. ". . . It wasn't like we
just went in there and made our decision. We were in there
for a few days."
Alternates sat through the entire month-long trial in Denver federal court. The 12 jurors
deliberated for six days before convicting Nacchio on 19 counts
of illegal insider trading connected to his sale of $52 million
in Qwest stock. They acquitted him on 23 other charges.
Nacchio, 58, was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to
pay $71 million in forfeitures and fines. He has appealed
his sentence and remains free on $2 million bond.
"I've been out talking to several retiree groups, and it's
almost always the first question that I get: 'What's
happening with the Nacchio case?' " said Mimi Hull, president of
the Association of U S West retirees.
Under Nacchio, Qwest acquired U S West in June 2000, and the
combined company nearly crumbled into bankruptcy two years
U S West retiree Betty Vigil said she often discusses the case
with fellow retirees.
"I have a lot of friends who are always rehashing this," said
Vigil, of Longmont.
During oral arguments, the appellate panel focused on two
points: the exclusion of defense expert testimony and
whether the inside information Nacchio sold stock on the basis
of was "material," or important enough that it legally had to be
If the panel determines the expert was wrongfully excluded,
Nacchio gets a new trial. A ruling that the information
was not material would acquit Nacchio on all charges.
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or