Former Qwest chief Joseph Nacchio yesterday appealed an insider-trading conviction, claiming he couldn’t have known the telecommunications company was in dire straits when he sold $52 million in stock in 2001. Rebutting a federal court’s guilty finding on 19 counts, the brief asserts Nacchio “believed more than anyone else in the company’s future,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Executives testified they’d warned Nacchio that Qwest’s finances were in trouble; prosecutors said Nacchio nonetheless gave rosy predictions to investors. The appeal calls “extraordinary" the charge that anyone could know financial projections eight months in advance. It also maintains the defense shouldn’t have been barred from presenting classified evidence that Nacchio knew government contracts were in the pipeline.