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Qwest Free of Nacchio Legal Fees

Raymond McConville
News Analysis
Raymond McConville

The dispute between Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) and its former CEO Joe Nacchio over the payment of Nacchio's legal fees has come to an end.

As part of Nacchio's severance package, Qwest has been picking up the convicted felon's legal tab since his departure from the company in 2002. Up to this point, that bill is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

But thanks to last week's ruling from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals -- the ruling that allowed Nacchio to remain free pending the appeal of his insider trading conviction -- Qwest will no longer be required to continue paying his legal fees.

Back in May of this year, Nacchio had sued Qwest, contesting that the company had not paid a certain portion of his legal bills during his trial. (See Nacchio Sues Qwest for Legal Fees.) At the time, it was expected that the undisclosed amount of money supposedly owed to Nacchio would continue to climb as he appealed his conviction.

In July, the two sides settled that Qwest would only have to pay a portion of lead defense attorney Howard Stern's bills during the appeals process but not the bills of his appellate team being led by Maureen Mahoney.

Qwest confirmed late last week that the judge's ruling will not affect that settlement and that Qwest will continue to be free of Nacchio's legal expenses during the appeals process. It will continue however to pay his fees during the civil suit that is still pending against him.

Nacchio was convicted in late April of insider trading and was sentenced late last month to six years in prison and ordered to pay a $19 million fine. (See Nacchio Found Guilty and Former Qwest Boss Gets Six for Insider Trading.)

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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