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Nacchio files for acquittal, another trial
By Andy Vuong, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Attorneys for former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio on Monday filed motions for acquittal, a new trial and a change of venue -- more than six weeks after a federal jury convicted Nacchio on 19 counts of illegal insider trading.

"The evidence presented at trial was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt any element of any of the offenses alleged," Nacchio's attorneys argued in the acquittal motion.

They acknowledge that the court has already twice denied the motion for acquittal. 

In their motion for a new trial and change of venue, Nacchio's attorneys state that although the court anticipated media coverage of the case would die down after the trial started, the "volume and shrillness of the media's coverage increased in the weeks prior to and during trial."

"Because the pervasive publicity was in intensely negative and long lasting, a new trial should be granted," the filing states.

Some examples Nacchio's attorneys cited in their filing:

-  On April 11, a motorist drove up to Nacchio and yelled:  "Hey, Nacchio, I hope you get cancer and die."  The incident was recounted by Nacchio attorney Mark Rufolo.

-  A survey conducted by a firm hired by Nacchio found that 49 percent of Denver residents knew of Nacchio and 32 percent had a negative view of him.

-  Thirty-two prospective jurors said they had learned about the case from the media or other outside sources.

U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham denied Nacchio's original change-of-venue request.

Also Monday, the parties disclosed that they have finalized a deal in which Nacchio and his wife, Anne Esker, have set aside $52 million in three separate escrow accounts and agreed not to touch the money unless permitted by the court.  Only $28.6 million of the $52 million came from Nacchio's illegal stock trades, according to a defense filing.  The rest came from Esker.

Nacchio and Esker also agreed that the money in the accounts can be used to satisfy any forfeiture order connected to his conviction.  Under the deal, prosecutors agreed to withdraw their motion to freeze Nacchio's assets.  Prosecutors filed the asset-freeze motion out of concern that they would be unable to track down the money if Nacchio is ordered to forfeit the $52 million.  They alleged he had transferred at least $133 million to Esker.

Staff Writer Andy Vuong can be reached at 303-954-1209 or avuong@denverpost.com

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_6061096