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1/13/2010
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Ex-Qwest CEO Won't Get New Trial

Joe Nacchio's six-year sentence for illegal insider stock trading may be reduced, however, if a resentencing review is decided in his favor.

Serving a six-year sentence for illegal insider stock trading, former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio lost his last-ditch effort to get out of prison when a federal judge in Denver denied Nacchio's motion for a new trial.

However, the relentless Nacchio, who was first convicted in 2007, still has a chance of seeing his prison term cut. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a resentencing that will review his sentence term.

In the latest ruling, announced Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger said that deposition testimony of Robin Szeliga, Qwest's former chief financial officer, won't help his case. Krieger said she couldn't "find that there is a reasonable probability that presenting Ms. Szeliga's deposition testimony would result in an acquittal in this case."

Nacchio is the last major convicted figure from the telecom bubble of a decade ago to continue to fight his conviction and sentence. Prosecutors had charged him with selling $52 million in Qwest stock when he knew the company wouldn't reach its sales targets. Qwest's stock subsequently collapsed and the firm also suffered massive layoffs.

The latest issue centered on Szeliga's testimony, given in a recent civil case, related to Qwest's downfall. Nacchio argued that Szeliga gave different versions of events in testimony presented in Nacchio's trial and in the civil case. Judge Krieger, however, said the two versions weren't substantially different.

Judge Krieger will review Nacchio's sentence, which, according to a 10th Circuit ruling, may have been too harsh. If she agrees with the 10th Circuit ruling, Nacchio could see his sentence reduced. He has been incarcerated in a Pennsylvania prison since April. Previously the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his case.

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