Top U.S. attorney leaving the case
Cliff Stricklin got high marks as the leading prosecutor in the
insider-trading trial, resulting in a conviction.
By Andy Vuong
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
The prosecutor who led the government's criminal-insider-trading
case against former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio, which
resulted in a conviction, is stepping down from the case.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Cliff Stricklin filed a motion
Friday in Denver federal court to withdraw from the case, which
is under appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Stricklin has served in an advisory role during the appeal.
Stephan Oestreicher, an appellate attorney from the Justice
Department's criminal division in Washington, D.C., is leading
the appeal for the government.
Stricklin received high marks from legal experts for his work
during the month-long trial. He conducted the direct
examination of one of the case's key witnesses -- former Nacchio
right-hand man Afshin Mohebbi. Stricklin also gave the final
words to the jury in the rebuttal closing.
"He (Nacchio) chose to cheat in order to make a lot of money.
And the only thing that stands between him and that money is
you. You have the power to set the standards of justice in this
community," Stricklin told jurors.
Nacchio was convicted in April on 19 counts of illegal insider
trading connected to his sale of $52 million in Qwest stock. He
was acquitted on 23 other insider-trading charges.
He was sentenced to six years in prison.
Nacchio won the first battle on appeal when a three-judge panel
in August granted his request to remain free on bail pending the
The decision indicated that Nacchio's attorneys identified at
least one issue that raises a substantial question of law or
fact likely to result in a reversal of the verdict, a new trial
or a reduced sentence. Oral arguments are set for Dec. 18.
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or