Monday, March 17, 2008

The Qwest for truth gets new hearing with perfect timing

Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio will get a new trial. A federal appeals court ordered the new trial, saying the trial court wrongly excluded some expert testimony.

Nacchio was convicted in April on 19 counts involving the sale of $52 million worth of Qwest stock in 2001. He was sentenced to six years in prison but remained free on appeal. Jurors acquitted Nacchio of 23 counts. …

Attorneys for Nacchio told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in December the case against him didn’t meet standards set by previous court rulings.

Nacchio’s attorney, Maureen Mahoney, also told the court that U.S. District Court Judge Edward Nottingham wrongly prevented a defense witness from testifying and that Nottingham's instructions to the jury were inadequate.

The perfect timing?

Given that Nacchio led Qwest to be the only major telecommunications company to resist President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping requests, and the House just passed a FISA renewal bill that would boot decisions on telecom immunity to a trial judge, Nacchio’s retrial could be explosive, to say the least.

That’s not to say that the federal case against Nacchio was driven by his fighting the wiretap spigot being illegally opened. But, you never now.

“Mr. GOP Insider Columnist,” Robert Novak, has claimed the GOP is being the Eliot Spitzer takedown.