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Nacchio Gets Two Strikes at Supreme Court

Remember Joseph Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications International who was convicted on federal insider-trading charges in 2007 and is currently serving a six-year sentence in a federal prison? As the Supreme Court wrapped up its term last spring, it signaled an interest in his petition for certiorari by issuing an order requesting the entire record from his earlier trials and appeals.

That end-of-term order gave Nacchio reason to hope that the court would hear his case when it reconvened in the fall. But any hope the court gave Nacchio it has since dashed twice over, denying his petition for certiorari and then denying his request to rehear the petition. The court considered Nacchio's petition at its conference on Sept. 29 and issued an order denying it on Oct. 5, according to the court's docket. He filed a request for rehearing on Oct. 30, which the court denied in an order issued Nov. 30.

But two strikes from the Supreme Court do not add up to an out for Nacchio. In July, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling that the U.S. District Court in Denver miscalculated his sentence under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines by overstating his financial gain from insider trading. The circuit court reversed Nacchio's sentence and sent the case back to the trial court for resentencing. That has yet to occur.

Nacchio had appealed his conviction on several grounds, including that the evidence was insufficient to convict him and that the trial judge had improperly excluded the testimony of an expert. In March 2008, a divided three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit sided with Nacchio, holding that the expert's exclusion was improper. But on review by the full bench, the 10th Circuit held that the judge properly performed his gatekeeping function and it affirmed Nacchio's conviction.

The sentence imposed on Nacchio by former U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham also fined him $19 million and ordered him to forfeit $52 million. He began serving a six-year sentence at the federal prison in Minersville, Pa., last April.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on December 16, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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