The Association of U S West Retirees



Nacchio gets two weeks to respond
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, May 2, 2008

Updated 12:30 p.m., May 1, 2008

An appellate court panel has ordered Joe Nacchio’s defense team to respond in 14 days to a government petition seeking the reinstatement of his 2007 conviction.

The request came a day after federal prosecutors asked the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a three-judge panel’s decision to overturn former Qwest CEO Nacchio’s insider-trading conviction.

Today’s development could be a good sign for the government.

“If courts are considering granting the petition (to review the case), it will request a response (from the defense),” Marcy Glenn, chairwoman of the appellate practice group at Holland & Hart in Denver, said Thursday.

But Glenn also said that in a case of this prominence, the court might request a response regardless.  And the speed of the request shouldn’t be a surprise because the appellate court has been handling the Nacchio case in an expedited fashion all along.

The three-judge panel voted 2-1 in March to toss out Nacchio’s conviction and order a new trial.  The panel’s majority said U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham had improperly prevented a defense witness from providing an economic analysis of Nacchio’s stock sales.

In the petition this week, prosecutors argued the panel had departed from precedent by restricting a district judge’s discretion to exclude “unsupported expert opinions and unnecessary economic commentary.”

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals hears only a handful of cases a year, and only if a question involves one of “exceptional importance” or to “maintain uniformity” of previous court decisions.

Nacchio was convicted last year on 19 counts of insider trading in connection with selling $52 million of stock in April and May 2001.  He was sentenced to six years in prison but has remained free on $2 million bail during his appeal.