Victims may testify at Nacchio sentencing

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DENVER - Qwest Communications shareholders who purchased stock when Joe Nacchio sold shares illegally in 2001 will be allowed to testify during the former CEO's sentencing, a judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham will set aside 1 1/2 hours to hear from victims before he sentences Nacchio on Friday for insider trading. Mimi Hull, president of the Association of US West Retirees, said she has notified her members about the decision.

A federal jury convicted Nacchio in April of insider trading based on $52 million worth of stock transactions he completed in April and May 2001. Prosecutors said he knew the company was at financial risk but didn't tell investors.

Prosecutors have recommended a maximum of seven years and three months in prison for Nacchio, a maximum fine of $19 million and forfeiture of $52 million in assets.

Defense attorney Herbert Stern has asked for an unspecified lesser sentence, which he said was warranted because of the ''extraordinary circumstances'' concerning the effect a lengthy prison term would have on the health of two of Nacchio's family members.

One relative is Nacchio's son, David, whose suicide attempt prompted his father to consider resigning in January 2001, according to trial testimony. Defense attorneys pointed to that emotional time for Nacchio as part of their argument that he was not guilty.

Prosecutor Kevin Traskos has asked Nottingham to subpoena David Nacchio's medical records so they could respond to the defense request for a lighter sentence.