delays Nacchio trial
Fall start targeted for complex insider-trading proceedings
By Greg Griffin, Staff Writer
Saturday, January 21, 2006
The federal judge
overseeing former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio's
insider-trading case allowed both sides more time Friday to
prepare but said he's aiming for a fall trial date.
"I intend to try this case sometime in the fall of 2006 if
possible," said U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham.
Minutes earlier, Nottingham granted the defense's unopposed
motion to declare the case complex, allowing a trial date to
be set beyond a federally mandated limit of 70 days from the
A grand jury indicted Nacchio, Qwest's CEO from 1997 to
2002, last month on 42 counts of criminal insider trading
for $100.8 million in stock sales he made from January to
Prosecutors say that during that time Nacchio knew that
Qwest was in worse financial shape than he and the company
were reporting to the public and could not meet performance
Nacchio has pleaded not guilty to each charge and is free on
$2 million bond. Part of Nacchio's defense may rely on his
knowledge that Qwest was in line to receive lucrative,
secret government contracts, his lawyers have said. Under
that defense, Nacchio believed the company was in better
shape than the government alleges.
In making that defense, Nacchio's attorneys, as well as
prosecutors and Nottingham, must receive clearance under the
federal Classified Information Procedures Act, or CIPA, in
order to review certain documents. Nacchio attorney Herbert
Stern said Friday that he is in the process of applying for
clearance, which he expects to take at least five weeks.
Nottingham scheduled a status conference for March 24.
Also on Friday, the judge denied motions by the government
and Nacchio's lawyers to seal certain filings made in the
case in recent weeks that are related to CIPA. He said the
documents are not classified.
On Thursday, the government filed a motion outlining its
case against Nacchio. It will be narrowly focused on his
trades and what he knew at the time. The government said it
will not attempt to prove accounting fraud at Qwest, as the
Securities and Exchange Commission is in its civil case
against Nacchio and a handful of other former Qwest
Stern objected Friday to an agreement made prior to the
indictment in which Qwest alerts investigators to any
requests made by Nacchio for documents.
Nottingham said he does not have the authority to intervene
in that matter.
Staff writer Greg
Griffin can be reached at 303-820-1241 or firstname.lastname@example.org.