- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

DENVER (AP) - Two years after his conviction, former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio reported to a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to start a six-year sentence for insider trading while he appeals his conviction to the Supreme Court.

Nacchio reported to a minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pa., around 11:30 a.m. EDT, a prison spokesman said. His deadline was noon.

He is inmate No. 33973-013 and will be assigned a job that likely pays 12 to 40 cents an hour, officials said.

Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading. Prosecutors said he sold $52 million worth of stock in 2001 based on nonpublic information that Qwest Communications International Inc. faced trouble meeting its sales targets. He was acquitted on 23 other counts of insider trading.

Denver-based Qwest is the primary telephone provider in 14 mostly Western states.

The Minersville prison camp is a satellite facility of the Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill.

Nacchio joins 287 inmates in a dormitory-style unit at the prison camp, which has an outdoor walking track and indoor gym. A typical day starts with breakfast at 6:15 a.m., work at 7:30 a.m., and dinner at 4:30 p.m. Lights out is at 11 p.m.

Nacchio has asked the Supreme Court to review his conviction. Separately, he asked Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to let him remain free on bail while he pursues his appeal, but Breyer rejected that request Tuesday.

He still faces a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing him and others of financial fraud.

Nacchio has been free since his conviction while pursuing his appeals of his conviction and sentence. In addition to serving prison time, Nacchio was ordered to pay $71 million in fines and forfeitures.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that Nacchio deserved a new trial because the trial judge barred a defense witness who planned to testify about explanations for Nacchio’s trading patterns.

The full appeals court in February reinstated the conviction in a 5-4 ruling, saying the judge was within his discretion.

Nacchio’s attorneys then asked the U.S. District Court for a new trial and also appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the 10th Circuit ruling conflicts with rulings by other appeals courts. They also argued that juror instructions were improper and that the defense witness’ testimony was improperly barred at trial.

Nacchio originally was due to report to prison March 23, but he won a delay after telling a judge he was worried about a growth on his leg that might be cancerous. It turned out to be benign, but U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger delayed his surrender date to decide whether he could be free on bail while he appealed his conviction.

She decided against it April 7, saying Nacchio hadn’t met a requirement to show he would likely win a reversal of his conviction, or be granted a new trial or new sentence without prison time.

Nacchio appealed, and on Monday, a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit said in a 2-1 ruling, “Mr. Nacchio has not shown that there is a reasonable chance that the Supreme Court will grant his petition.”

Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette said Tuesday in a written statement, “Thanks to the hard work of federal prosecutors … the defendant will now begin to serve his six-year prison sentence.”

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