Nacchio wins go-to-prison reprieve
Qwest's ex-CEO won't have to report to jail while the judge
reviews his high-court petition.
By Andy Vuong
Saturday, March 21, 2009
U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger on Friday revoked an order
requiring former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio to report to
prison Monday to begin serving a six-year sentence for illegal
Krieger didn't indicate when she would issue a new mandate to
surrender or, in the alternative, grant Nacchio's request to
remain free on bail while the Supreme Court considers whether to
review his conviction. In temporarily suspending the
prison order Thursday, Krieger said she wanted time to review
Nacchio's Supreme Court petition, which was filed Friday.
To grant Nacchio's request for bail, Krieger has to determine
that the petition raises a substantial question for a high-court
review. If bail is awarded, Nacchio could
remain free until
at least June, which is when the Supreme Court is expected to
decide whether to hear the case. Last month, the 10th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Nacchio's conviction and
revoked his bond, leading to Krieger's now-vacated order to
report to prison by Monday.
In the Supreme Court petition, Nacchio's attorney, Maureen
Mahoney, highlighted the unusual nature of Nacchio's case and
alleged that the trial judge committed "prejudicial errors."
"This is the first time an executive has ever been charged with
insider trading when the allegedly material 'inside' information
consisted of internal corporate risk assessments about financial
results for future quarters," she wrote.
Typical insider-trading cases involve inside information about
pending mergers and acquisitions, instead of financial
projections. Mahoney said special standards may be needed
to assess the importance of earnings forecasts and projections.
"The proper standard is a matter of great national importance
and merits review," she wrote.
She also raised questions about jury instructions connected to
materiality, the exclusion of expert testimony from a defense
witness and the fairness of the trial judge, former U.S.
District Judge Edward Nottingham.
Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209 or