The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest off hook for Nacchio's latest fees
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, August 24, 2007

Wednesday's court ruling allowing former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio to remain free pending appeal won't result in the Denver telco paying more of his legal fees -- at least not now.  Qwest spokesman Bob Toevs said the appellate panel's decision doesn't affect a legal-fee settlement between Qwest and Nacchio announced in late July.

Under the settlement, Qwest isn't paying for the work of Nacchio's appellate team, led by Maureen Mahoney.

Qwest did agree to pay an undisclosed amount to lead defense attorney Herbert Stern's firm during Nacchio's appeal of his insider-trading conviction.

The settlement also reserves the right for Qwest and Nacchio to go after disputed legal expenses after the appeals process runs its course.

Qwest already has paid millions of dollars of Nacchio's legal fees.

Legal experts said the surprise ruling by the three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals means the panel decided there is a substantial question of law that could possibly reverse Nacchio's conviction.

But experts said nothing definite should be read from the ruling, and noted the panel also put the appeal on a fast track, setting oral arguments for mid-December.  Other executives, such as WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers, were free pending appeal, only to wind up serving prison sentences.

Stern said the defense was "gratified" by the panel's decision.  Prosecutors expressed disappointment, and retirees responded with disgust.

Curtis Kennedy, attorney for the Association of U S West Retirees, called the ruling an "example of the special justice system for the very rich."

He noted most people can't afford to appeal criminal convictions, much less argue that they should be out on bail pending appeal. or 303-954-5155,2777,DRMN_23910_5681084,00.html