- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

DENVER (AP) - A federal judge says former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio doesn’t have to report to prison on Monday as scheduled because his lawyers plans to ask the Supreme Court on Friday to review his insider-trading conviction.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger on Thursday granted Nacchio a stay in the start of his six-year term at a minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pennsylvania, so she can reconsider his request to remain free on bail during the appeal. She didn’t say when she would rule.

Also Thursday, Nacchio’s lawyers told Krieger he doesn’t have cancer.

Nacchio had asked to have until April 7 to report to prison over a doctor’s concerns that a suspicious growth on his leg might indicate cancer.

One of Nacchio’s attorneys, Everett Johnson, said in court Thursday that biopsy results showed the growth was benign. Krieger said prison staff should be able to handle any necessary follow-up procedures.

Krieger had denied Nacchio’s earlier request to remain free on bail during his appeal to the Supreme Court, saying it was premature because he hadn’t formally filed the appeal.

Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading and acquitted on 23 counts. Prosecutors alleged he sold $52 million in Qwest stock based on nonpublic information that the Denver-based telecommunications company was at risk.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the conviction on a 2-1 ruling, saying the trial judge improperly barred a defense witness from testifying.

Last month, the full appeals court ruled 5-4 that the judge was within his discretion.

That set in motion a flurry of motions by Nacchio’s attorneys seeking a new trial and for Nacchio to remain free.

Nacchio’s attorneys have argued that former Qwest Chief Financial Officer Robin Szeliga recently offered evidence in a pending civil suit about what financial risk Qwest faced, and that the evidence differs from her testimony in Nacchio’s trial.

They also say there are substantial questions about whether the defense expert should have been allowed to testify, whether jury instructions were proper and whether the appeals court’s decision conflicted with rulings by other courts.

The civil suit, brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, alleges Nacchio and other former Qwest employees were part of a scheme to boost Qwest’s stock price.

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