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Nacchio judge refuses trail delay
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, February 9, 2007

Denver Federal Judge Edward Nottingham on Thursday scolded prosecutors and Joe Nacchio's defense attorneys, saying they were acting like "petulant children in a sandbox" in arguing over how quickly evidence is being exchanged.  He said there would not be a delay in the former Qwest chief executive's trial, scheduled to begin March 19.

Rather than kicking sand at each other, "I think what you need to do is stop whining and get on with the business of preparing for this trial," Nottingham said.

Nottingham rebuked government prosecutors for not turning over certain evidence such as witness interviews faster, but he also called the defense team's request for a 60-day trial delay as a "backhanded, lame request" because it was buried in a court filing.

The judge said he saw nothing, such as government misconduct, that would cause him to delay the trial.  And he noted the court already is in the process of summoning jurors.

Nacchio faces 42 counts of insider trading in connection with sale of $101 million of stock in the first five months of 2001.

A possible appellate issue also emerged at the status conference when Nottingham agreed with the government that certain highly sensitive classified information shouldn't be seen by the defense.

He said the material is irrelevant based on his current understanding of the issues and that the inadvertent disclosure of the information increases as more people are allowed to look at it.  But he said his ruling is subject to being reviewed by an appellate court after the trial.

Nacchio attorney Herbert Stern, who was participating via telephone, said the defense is "trustworthy," which set Nottingham off on a tirade.

Nottingham, raising his voice, said he hadn't said anything about whether or not the defense was trustworthy.

"Why are you talking about that?"

What's next

-  A pretrial conference in two weeks.

smithje@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5155

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_23910_5339021,00.html