Ebbers, the former WorldCom CEO, was found guilty of securities fraud, conspiracy, and seven counts of false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (see Ebbers: GUILTY!).
Weingarten and his team will appeal the verdict, and a key part of that appeal could be the confusion surrounding the supplemental charges, which emerged during the jury’s deliberations last week.
The supplemental charges detailed the broader impact of the fraud. Last week, jurors sent a note to Judge Barbara Jones asking whether they had to agree with these charges in order to find Ebbers guilty.
Jones instructed the jury not to take the supplemental charges into consideration, reportedly saying they should not have been included in the indictment.
Reports now suggest that Ebbers’s appeal will also focus on a number of former WorldCom execs who did not give evidence. The defense was unable to call on the witnesses during the trial when the Government refused to grant them immunity, according to several news reports.
Speaking outside the court yesterday, Weingarten also complained that the case took place in New York, instead of Mississippi, WorldCom’s home state. “The case should have been heard in Mississippi,” he said. “A lot of the important witnesses are in Mississippi.”
Lacking any clear "smoking gun" implicating Ebbers in the fraud, jurors opted to believe the circumstantial evidence against the former basketball coach and bouncer, as well as damning testimony from a number of his one-time minions.
These included the prosecution’s star witness, former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan, and the company’s one-time controller, David Myers, who both testified against their former boss (see Ebbers Trial: Sex, Drugs & Numbers).
Here is a breakdown of the nine counts against Ebbers:
- 1: Conspiracy
- 2: Securities Fraud
- 3: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-Q for WorldCom Inc., for the third quarter of 2000
- 4: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-K for WorldCom, for the year ending December 31, 2000
- 5: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-Q for WorldCom, for the first quarter of 2001
- 6: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-Q for WorldCom, for the second quarter of 2001
- 7: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-Q for WorldCom, for the third quarter of 2001
- 8: False filing with the SEC on form 10-K for WorldCom, for the year ending December 31, 2001
- 9: False filing with the SEC on Form 10-Q for WorldCom, for the first quarter of 2002
— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum