- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio asked the Supreme Court on Monday to put off the start of his prison term for his conviction on insider-trading charges.

His lawyers filed an emergency appeal with Justice Stephen Breyer after the federal appeals court in Denver turned down Nachio’s latest bid to stay out of prison while he asks the high court to review his conviction in 2007 involving the sale of $52 million worth of stock in Qwest Communications International Inc.

Nacchio has been ordered to report to a prison camp in Minersville, Pa., by noon Tuesday to start a six-year term.

He says he should be allowed to remain free pending the Supreme Court’s consideration of his case because there is a reasonable chance the justices will agree to consider overturning the conviction.

Federal prosecutors have opposed Nacchio’s request.

They have said Nacchio hasn’t met the requirement of showing that his Supreme Court appeal would probably win him a new trial or acquittal.

Jurors convicted Nacchio of selling the stock based on nonpublic information that Denver-based Qwest faced trouble meeting its sales targets. They acquitted him of 23 other counts of insider trading.

Nacchio’s attorneys contend juror instructions were improper and that the trial judge improperly barred testimony from a defense expert who could have explained Nacchio’s trading patterns.

Separately, his attorneys have asked the U.S. District Court in Denver for a new trial because of ambiguity in trial testimony over how much risk Qwest faced in meeting its sales goals.

Nacchio has been free since his conviction and has been appealing his conviction, sentence and the date he must report to prison.

He still faces a civil lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing him and other former Qwest employees of financial fraud that led Qwest to improperly report about $3 billion in revenue.

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