Ex-Qwest CEO's Insider-Trading Conviction Rejected

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Joseph Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, had his conviction on insider trading overturned Monday. A federal appeals court ordered a new trial, saying the judge in the original trial improperly excluded a witness who would have testified on Naccio's behalf.


The former CEO of Qwest Communications has won a reprieve. An appeals court has overturned Joseph Nacchio's insider trading conviction. The court says a lower court judge improperly blocked a defense witness from testifying.

And we have more this morning from Denver and NPR's Jeff Brady.

JEFF BRADY: Nacchio was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay more than $70 million. So Monday's appeals court decision must've put him in a good mood. But University of Denver law Professor Kevin O'Brien says federal prosecutors got some good news, too.

Professor KEVIN O'BRIEN (Law, University of Denver): They won on all the other issues on appeal, and they have another bite at the apple so to speak, because the 10th circuit specifically ruled that the government had sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction here.

BRADY: Nacchio was convicted last April of selling more than $100 million of Qwest stock while knowing the company was in trouble. He's been out on bail. At the trial last year, there were many Qwest retirees watching with interest. Some lost hundreds of thousands of dollars when the company stock plunged from $40 to about $1 a share.

Mimi Hull heads a group representing the retirees.

Ms. MIMI HULL (President, Association of US West Retirees): It's been a terribly, terribly slow wheels of justice process. You know, one thing we say is how many of us are going to be alive by the time this many is brought to justice.

BRADY: In a written statement, the U.S. Attorney in Denver called the appeals court decision a setback, not a defeat. He now must decide whether to ask the full 10th circuit court of appeals to examine the case or go ahead with a new trial.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.

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