Heavy hitter landed for Nacchio case
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Thursday, August 14, 2008
A veteran Supreme Court attorney will represent the government
in the full appellate court case against former Qwest CEO Joe
Nacchio in September.
"We wanted the best and got him," U.S. Attorney for Colorado
Troy Eid said of Edwin Kneedler, principal deputy solicitor
general for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Kneedler argued his 100th case in front of the U.S. Supreme
Court this year, Eid said, "one of just eight people in history
to do so."
Federal prosecutors secured a key victory last month when the
full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to hear the
government's appeal in the Nacchio case. Prosecutors are
challenging a 2-1 appellate panel ruling earlier this year to
throw out Nacchio's insider-trading conviction and order a new
The panel decided a defense witness was improperly excluded from
offering expert evidence at Nacchio's federal trial last year.
The full appellate court, which agrees to only a handful of
requests a year, will take up the issue on Sept. 25 and consider
whether to uphold the conviction.
Kneedler, 62, has won cases in front of the Supreme Court
involving natural resources, Native American law and racial
gerrymandering. He is expected to go up against Nacchio's
appellate attorney, Maureen Mahoney, who has a stellar appellate
record herself. Mahoney was out of the office Wednesday
and couldn't be reached for comment.
Stephan Oestreicher, a 32-year-old federal prosecutor, argued
the government's case in front of the appellate panel this year.
defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt said it makes sense Eid would
seek someone with more experience if that will better present
the government's case.
A federal jury found Nacchio guilty in April 2007 of 19 counts
of insider trading. He was sentenced to six years in
prison, but is free on $2 million bail pending his appeal.