Ex-workers are among spectators
By Will Shanley, Staff Writer
Friday, March 23, 2007
Rich Mahan retired from Qwest in 2001 as a
manager of field technicians.
But his bond with the company forged during 38 years of work has
"I'm going to be down here every day," Mahan, 60, said Thursday
during a break in the Joe Nacchio insider-trading trial. "I
want to see justice done. I had a lot of friends who were hurt
by this guy."
A handful of other former Qwest employees have also come to see
Nacchio on trial. A trio of metro-area law students are
attending at the direction of their professor.
Bruce Conant, a retired government worker, came to see the big
names during the trial.
"It is the case and the personalities," said Conant, 57, who
said he earned a law degree but never practices. "Where else
will I get to see (Philip) Anschutz?" Anschutz, the
Denver-based financier and Qwest founder, is expected to be
called as a defense witness.
Conant said he also wanted to see lawyer Herb Stern, the former
federal prosecutor and judge who is heading Nacchio's defense
"I wanted to see him in action," said Conant, of Denver. "He's
supposed to be one of the best ever."
For law students such as Leena Gagnon, the trial provides a
window n the profession.
"It's a huge case, and it's exciting to see," said Gagnon, 25, a
first-year law student at the University of Denver.
Gagnon said one of her law professors requires students to
attend trials. She said most hearings in other cases she had
attended "were boring."
"This seems more like what you'd see on Court TV, Gagnon said.
"I hope to see Nacchio have to pay," said Roseanna Stowits, who
said she was laid off from Qwest in February. She spoke outside
the 10th-floor courtroom of the Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse
in downtown Denver.
Stowits said Thursday was her first day watching the trial. She
said she expected there would be more former Qwest workers at
"Maybe people lost so much money (because of Nacchio) that they
have to go to work and can't come here," joked Stowits, 54, who
said she worked at Qwest for 28 years, most recently in
About two dozen spectators not directly connected to the case
are showing up each day for the trial, which started this week
and could last two months.
A total of 23 "general public" passes and 12 media passes were
available for courtroom spectators Thursday. About a dozen more
people watched the trial via flat-panel TVs set up in an
overflow room, a courtroom on the seventh floor.
Staff writer Will Shanley can be reached at 303-954-1260 or