off hook for Nacchio's latest fees
By Jeff Smith
Rocky Mountain News
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday's court ruling allowing former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio
to remain free pending appeal won't result in the Denver telco
paying more of his legal fees -- at least not now. Qwest
spokesman Bob Toevs said the appellate panel's decision doesn't
affect a legal-fee settlement between Qwest and Nacchio
announced in late July.
Under the settlement, Qwest isn't paying for the work of
Nacchio's appellate team, led by Maureen Mahoney.
Qwest did agree to pay an undisclosed amount to lead defense
attorney Herbert Stern's firm during Nacchio's appeal of his
The settlement also reserves the right for Qwest and Nacchio to
go after disputed legal expenses after the appeals process runs
Qwest already has paid millions of dollars of Nacchio's legal
Legal experts said the surprise ruling by the three-judge panel
of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals means the panel decided
there is a substantial question of law that could possibly
reverse Nacchio's conviction.
But experts said nothing definite should be read from the
ruling, and noted the panel also put the appeal on a fast track,
setting oral arguments for mid-December. Other executives, such
as WorldCom's Bernie Ebbers, were free pending appeal, only to
wind up serving prison sentences.
Stern said the defense was "gratified" by the panel's decision.
Prosecutors expressed disappointment, and retirees responded
Curtis Kennedy, attorney for the Association of U S West
Retirees, called the ruling an "example of the special justice
system for the very rich."
He noted most people can't afford to appeal criminal
convictions, much less argue that they should be out on bail
smithje@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-5155