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More Tough Luck For Convicted Former Qwest CEO Nacchio


Wall Street Journal Law Blog

By Dionne Searcey


nacchioWe all know that you win some and you lose some. But if you’re former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, you lose some, you win some, you lose some. . . and you lose some again. We’ve detailed Nacchio’s saga through the legal system here and here.

The latest chapter of the one-time telecom CEO convicted of insider trading involves a Denver re-sentencing hearing that Nacchio argued he shouldn’t attend.

First, the back story. In 2007, Nacchio (pictured) was sentenced to 72 months in a minimum-security satellite prison camp in Minersville, Pa. An appellate panel tossed out his conviction only to have it later upheld. The court then said his sentence was based on an inaccurate calculation of his stock gains from his trades. A re-sentencing hearing was set for April 21 in Denver.

Nacchio tried to waive his appearance at the hearing. He said U.S. marshals couldn’t deliver him in a timely fashion for his court date, so he wouldn’t be able to show up until May. Since Nacchio is expected to get at least several months shaved off his sentence, according to legal experts, every minute counts.

White collar inmates housed in (relatively) cushy, minimum-security “country club” prisons aren’t particularly fond of being transported across the country by U.S. marshals who treat them like just another common criminal. They’re sometimes tossed into the general prison population en route or at their destination while they await court dates. Nacchio’s brief to the Denver court said marshals would have kept him on a weeks-long layover in an Oklahoma facility before taking him to Denver.

The government told the court that “public policy interests” require that Nacchio show up.

Nacchio’s next move was to seek a furlough from prison so he could get to court by his own means, at his own expense. It’s unclear how he would have done so, but a private jet delivered him from New Jersey to his Denver trial. Judge Krieger denied that request.

Yesterday, the judge set a new hearing for two days in June and ordered Nacchio to show up for at least the first day. We’re guessing he’ll stick around for the entire hearing.