Victim statements OK at Nacchio sentencing
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
July 23, 2007
"Victims" will be allowed to make statements for a total of 90
minutes Friday at former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio's sentencing, but
the government must coordinate their appearance, a federal judge
ruled today. U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham also defined
a victim narrowly as a person who bought Qwest shares on the
days Nacchio was selling.
The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't immediately return a phone
call inquiring whether it has lined up any victims who would
qualify to speak at the sentencing.
Nacchio is to be sentenced Friday on 19 counts of insider
trading corresponding to 19 days in April and May 2001 when he
sold $52 million of Qwest stock.
In issuing the ruling, Nottingham rejected a broader definition
of a victim, and also denied the government's motion for the
court to establish a procedure for notifying victims.
He wrote the government's motion "confuses and conflates the
tasks" of the two bodies.
Nottingham said it's up to the government to "identify victims,
to notice them, and to coordinate their appearance in court,"
while it's the court's obligation to allow victims to be
"reasonably heard" at sentencing.
He said any victim to be heard will take an oath and present
their testimony in question-and-answer form with their attorney.
The government is seeking a sentence of 7 years and three
months. Nacchio is asking for leniency based in part on the
mental health of his oldest son David, who the defense said once
Prosecutors late Friday requested the medical records of David
Nacchio from his psychiatrist. Nacchio's attorneys have agreed
to produce the records to Nottingham so he can determine whether
it's appropriate for the government to have them.