Memo to Nacchio Trial Followers

March 28 2007, 6:07 AM

My live-blogging of the Joseph Nacchio trial is on hold until next week as I'll be out of town until Tuesday, April 2. I will resume when I return. While I'm gone, I'll be following the trial along with the rest of you through the mainstream media, and checking the court filings through PACER. While I've given my opinions to the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post reporters, as well as to the national press, I've refrained from providing them here. My coverage at 5280 has intentionally been geared towards following the action in court and providing detailed coverage of the actual proceedings. The reason for this is three-fold.

Unlike my own blog, TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime, 5280 is a magazine without a set political point of view. Second, as practicing criminal defense lawyer in the federal courts, my interest in trials other than my own lies not in who is going to win, but in how well the case is presented on both sides and how well the Judge performs his role. Third, as someone who is not a stock investor, familiar with big business or its jargon and who has not followed the previous cases involving Qwest, I think I am pretty much like the jury -- a blank slate. We may have all heard of Qwest and Joe Nacchio but we haven't formed opinions. We're waiting for the Government, which has the burden of proof, to convince us. I have loved being in the courtroom for the Nacchio trial. This is a trial with a top-notch judge who knows the rules of evidence like they were written on the back of his hand. I can attest that he is a little idiosyncratic in temperment, but he rails at both sides. I learn something new every day I attend the trial. During the trial, I've had the opportunity to chit-chat with Joe Nacchio and his wife on unrelated matters, as well as with former Qwest employees, assorted non-participating lawyers in attendance and representatives of the media who have been most helpful in explaining the complex financial issues such as recurring vs. non-recurring revenues, one-timers and IRU's. I keep looking at the jury though, because I can't help but wonder, if I am so confused by the lingo and meaning of the various concepts of the budget process, how are they understanding it? Finally, I consider the role of bloggers vs. the mainstream media. There's no question in my mind that bloggers provide a level of detail and spontaneity in their coverage that the mainstream media can't equal. We speak with our own voice, not with the voice of an editor who has reviewed and corrected or modified our thoughts. Yet, despite all my years as a lawyer and a TV legal analyst, I still can't turn a photo into phrase like this.

Smiling and locking arms with his wife and one of his sons, Joseph Nacchio strode into the federal courthouse in Denver last week looking more like a man on his way to family wedding than a former chief executive charged with 42 counts of insider trading.

The point is that a synergy has developed between the mainstream media and bloggers and for the most part, it's a good one. I have no hesitancy during the days I'm not at the trial in directing you to the best of the mainstream media coverage as I view it. But I'm also confident that bloggers round out the coverage and provide readers with nuances the mainstream media doesn't have the time or structure to report. I hope you agree.

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