Documents: Nacchio examined for skin cancer

Wed, 03/18/2009 - 8:10am
The Associated Press

DENVER (AP) – Court documents say former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio may have skin cancer and wants to delay the start of his prison term for insider trading until doctors determine whether he needs surgery.

In a letter filed Tuesday with U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger, Dr. Warren Zwecker wrote that Nacchio underwent a biopsy Monday to determine whether a "suspicious growth" on his leg is cancerous. He said he expected to receive results by Friday. Even if the growth is benign, Zwecker wrote, he would need to see Nacchio around March 26 to check the biopsy wound.

Nacchio has been ordered to report to prison next Monday, March 23. His attorneys asked for a delay last week, but the reason wasn't made public until Tuesday, when a judge denied a request to keep his health information sealed.

The judge scheduled a hearing for Thursday on whether to delay the prison term.

Federal prosecutors argued in a court filing Tuesday that prison officials are equipped to provide Nacchio with medical care.

Nacchio's attorney, Maureen Mahoney, didn't immediately return a call Tuesday. In a court brief Tuesday, she requested that the court rule on the requested delay by Wednesday evening.

Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading and acquitted on 23 counts. Prosecutors alleged Nacchio sold $52 million in Qwest stock based on nonpublic information that the Denver-based telecommunications company was at risk.

Nacchio was sentenced to six years in prison and was ordered to report to a minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pa., by noon Monday.

Mahoney had asked to let Nacchio remain free while he challenges his conviction. In a filing last week in U.S. District Court in Denver, Mahoney argued that Nacchio is not a flight risk or danger, he is moving swiftly to seek a Supreme Court review of his case, and his appeal will raise a substantial question for review.

Mahoney has argued that Nacchio deserves a new trial because former Qwest Chief Financial Officer Robin Szeliga offered evidence in a pending civil suit that differs from her testimony in Nacchio's trial.

U.S. prosecutors say Nacchio should report to prison as scheduled while he challenges his conviction. Denver-based Qwest Communications is the primary telephone provider in 14 mostly Western states.

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