February 26, 2009 9:07 AM
Nacchio guilty again - will Supremes intervene?
The only folks who can save Joe Nacchio from a prison sentence are wearing robes.
Sara Burnett reports:
Although the nation's high court has agreed to hear only about 1 percent of cases filed there in recent years, Nacchio has a couple of things going for him: a narrowly divided appellate court decision and an attorney with a stellar record of getting cases heard - and winning.
The final stage was set Wednesday, when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated Nacchio's insider trading conviction.
In a 5-4 decision, the appellate court found that U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham acted properly when he excluded a key defense expert. The court also revoked an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel that Nacchio may remain free on bail pending his appeal and lifted a stay on his prison sentence.
The court sent the case back to the panel to reconsider the six-year prison sentence and the order for Nacchio to forfeit $52 million of stock proceeds.
But unless the Supreme Court grants a rare stay of the order of imprisonment pending a final outcome, Nacchio must report to prison within weeks.
Former U.S. Attorney for Colorado Troy Eid, who led the office during the prosecution, said he was "elated."
"This shows there really can be equal justice regardless of someone's position in life," he said.
Nacchio's lawyer Maureen Mahoney said she was "profoundly disappointed" by the court's decision, and is optimistic the U.S. Supreme Court will review the case.
"Not only was the court intensely divided, with four of the nine judges concluding that Mr. Nacchio was denied a fair trial, but the majority's decision is in conflict with the decision of other courts of appeal throughout the country," Mahoney said in a statement.