Defense lawyers’ groups back ex-Qwest CEO’s appeal |

Defense lawyers’ groups back ex-Qwest CEO’s appeal

DENVER ” Two groups have filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the Supreme Court to review former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio’s insider trading conviction.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers filed the brief last week.

Nacchio has begun serving a six-year sentence on 19 counts of insider trading based on allegations that he sold $52 million worth of stock in 2001 based on nonpublic information that Qwest Communications International Inc. faced financial risk.

Nacchio has argued that his trial judge improperly barred testimony from an expert who could have explained Nacchio’s trading patterns and whether the alleged insider information he held was significant.

The full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that the judge was within his discretion in barring the testimony because of unanswered questions about the expert’s methodology. Nacchio’s attorneys argued that they didn’t get a chance to fully answer those questions, and Nacchio appealed to the Supreme Court.

The defense lawyers’ groups wrote in their brief that the trial judge based his decision on standards for civil cases, not criminal trials.

Denver-based Qwest provides telecommunications services.

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