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Nacchio tells of becoming a minister at hearing

4:37 PM, May 4, 2010   |    comments
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The former CEO of Qwest Communications International Inc. now has a shaved head and a goatee.

Nacchio was in court for a hearing on whether he could waive his right to attend his re-sentencing hearings.

"I felt very confident that whether I was here or not, what I believe and what I wanted to say was being said well through my council," Nacchio told the judge on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger ruled Nacchio will not have to be present at the hearings that could reduce his prison sentence for his insider trading convictions. Nacchio was found guilty of falsely reporting Qwest's earnings statements and then profiting off of stock sales.

Mimi Hull, president of the Association of U.S. West/Qwest Retirees, was one of a handful of former employees who were in the courtroom.

"I think that he, at this point in his life, has an aversion to Denver, where he is not greatly loved by anybody... I don't think he wants to look people in the eye and say, 'What I did was wrong,'" she said.

Nacchio told the judge he did not want to be present for the proceeding because he would miss prison visitation time with his sick, 92-year-old mother and his wife. Nacchio cried while discussing his sick mother and said the travel would be hard because it could take six to eight weeks.

"I remain an important figure in my family," he said. "I don't want to be away from them [his family] any time, certainly not the time that's afforded to me now."

He also told the judge about becoming a minister and said he wanted to give one inmate his first communion.

"Being in prison gives you a lot of opportunities to sit alone and think," Nacchio said. "I've met better people in prison than I used to work with."

"When he said, my reaction was, 'But the people you worked with in the position you were in were the ones you hired, so why didn't you hire better people to surround yourself with?'" Hull said.

Nacchio says he has developed a routine in prison and when he is not there, it is hard on both him and the prisoners who rely on him. He says he is also the only Catholic Eucharist minister in the prison camp.

Nacchio also stressed that traveling from Pennsylvania to Colorado is very hard.

"I've been in solitary for the past eight or nine days," he said. "Everybody who warned me about it said, 'You don't want to go if you don't have to.'"

"As much as it would be nice to be here, I don't think I can contribute much here," Nacchio said.

An appeals court ruled that Nacchio's original sentence of six years in prison, plus $71 million in fines and forfeitures, was too harsh. He will now be resentenced in June.

Nacchio has started serving his sentence at a prison in Pennsylvania. Online federal prison records show he was moved to a low-security facility in Englewood, Colo., before the hearing Tuesday. He will now head back to the prison camp in Pennsylvania.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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