July 27, 2007
Will Nacchio Receive Bail Pending Appeal?
Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio faces sentencing before U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham, and an important question beyond the prison term -- the Sentencing Guidelines range is 70 to 87 months based on the government's calculations -- is whether he will be allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. Nacchio filed a brief (available below) outlining four likely issues that raise a substantial question regarding his convictions to allow the court to permit him to remain free while he pursues the appeal. Two of the issues relate to the materiality of any information he had at the time of the trading, and the others relate to the sufficiency of the evidence and the trial court's exclusion of classified information related to contracts Qwest might have obtained that would have bolstered its stock price. Trying to gauge whether an issue will be successful on appeal is always difficult, and in the bail-after-conviction context it is even more difficult because the standard essentially asks Judge Nottingham to second-guess himself. As co-blogger Ellen Podgor points out (see here), recent white collar cases are all over the place on the issue, with some defendants granted bail (e.g. Bernie Ebbers) while others (Jeffrey Skilling) are not. Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy and former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman were even taken into custody at the end of the sentencing hearing, an uncommon but not impossible scenario. The bail statute presumes the defendant will not be granted bail pending appeal, so the odds are against Nacchio. (ph)
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