Depositions of former Qwest execs delayed
Postponement due to uncertainty of Joe Nacchio's case
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, July 9, 2008
A defense attorney Wednesday described the Securities and
Exchange Commission's civil fraud case against five former Qwest
executives as in a "syrupy morass."
The sound bite by Kevin Evans, attorney for defendant James
Kozlowski, a former Qwest accountant, came as depositions
continue to be delayed because of the uncertainty of former
Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio's criminal case.
In a conference at Denver federal
court, Federal Magistrate Craig Shaffer granted the request by
the U.S. attorney's office to postpone
for at least 65 days the depositions of former Qwest executives
Afshin Mohebbi, Robin Szeliga, Lee Wolfe and Gregory Casey.
The four were key government witnesses in Nacchio's
insider-trading trial last year.
Federal prosecutors, faced with a possible second criminal
trial, don't want Nacchio's attorneys to gain an upper hand
through information they may acquire during depositions in the
The defendants in the SEC civil-fraud case are Nacchio,
Kozlowski, Mohebbi, former Qwest Chief Financial Officer Robert
Woodruff and former accountant Frank Noyes. All have
denied the allegations.
In the meantime, all the parties are waiting to see whether the
10th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the government's appeal
of a three-judge panel's decision to throw out Nacchio's
conviction and order a new trial.
"I wish I had some sense of what's going to happen to the
criminal case," Shaffer lamented at one point during Wednesday's
smithje@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5155