Nacchio's lawyers to seek retrial
Joe Nacchio's lawyers allege an error in jury selection.
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, April 27, 2007
Joe Nacchio's attorneys on Thursday said they intend to seek a
new trial based in part on grounds an error "may have been
committed" when the court narrowed the prospective juror pool
from 1,000 to 78 before the jury selection process. The
statement came in a motion filed by Nacchio's attorneys in U.S.
District Court in Colorado to get the responses to the 1,000
pretrial questionnaires sent by the court to potential jurors.
"To the extent that (a) potential juror's answer to the
questionnaire did not demonstrate bias justifying automatic
excusal, the court's unknown method for winnowing the (pool)
from 1,000 to 78 may have constituted error warranting the grant
of a new trial," states the motion by Nacchio's attorneys.
Nacchio's attorneys point to Judge Edward Nottingham's decision
initially to send out two questionnaires but ultimately only
one, and not explaining fully on what basis he disqualified
Nottingham, who denied a defense request for a change of venue
because of adverse publicity about Nacchio, allowed both the
defense and prosecution to submit proposed questions. He also
made it clear in pretrial hearings that he would automatically
disqualify prospective jurors whose family owned Qwest stock.
Legal experts have said the Nacchio defense team's argument
about a fair jury is undermined somewhat by the fact that the
team didn't use all of its challenges to excuse jurors.
Also Thursday, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer
ruled that the civil-fraud case against Nacchio should move
Nacchio's attorney in the civil case, Joel Silverstein, argued
that discovery, or the exchange of evidence, should remain
frozen pending the outcome of Nacchio's expected appeal of the
But Shaffer disagreed, saying there are other interests to take
into account, including those of the other defendants. There
also are civil- raud claims pending against former Chief
Operating Officer Afshin Mohebbi, former Chief Financial Officer
Robert Woodruff and former accountants James Kozlowski and Frank
Former CFO Robin Szeliga and former sales executive Gregory
Casey have settled civil-fraud claims with the Securities and
smithje@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5155.