Chief Judge Edward W. Nottingham today sentenced former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio to six years in prison, 15 months less than the Government asked for. He sided with the Government, however, on the amount of fine and forfeiture. Nacchio was fined $19 million, $1 million for each count he was convicted on, and ordered to forfeit $52 million. The Judge denied Nacchio’s request for an appeal bond, but contrary to the Government’s wishes, allowed him to stay out until the Bureau of Prisons decides where he will serve his sentence. Nacchio must report to that facility 15 days from today. Nacchio asked the Judge to recommend to BOP that he be designated to the federal prison camp at Schuylkill in Minersville, Pa. There is also a medium security prison at Schuylkill. News reports that the Judge made the recommendation that he be designated to Schuylkill, however, refused to specify the camp as opposed to the prison, are incorrect. The Judge’s sentencing minutes available on PACER specifically recommend he be placed at the camp. The final decision is up to BOP, but the Judge granted Nacchio’s request. One interesting note. Every defendant has the right to make a statement in his own behalf before the court imposes sentence. Judge Nottingham afforded Nacchio the opportunity this morning, and he declined. After the sentence was imposed, Nacchio wanted to say something.
He walked toward the judge’s bench, and said “I’m going to address the court. I’m the defendant. I promise it will be respectful.” Nottingham cut Nacchio off, saying he had given him the opportunity to make an statement earlier. He then ended the hearing.
Those adversely affected by Nacchio’s actions will either be pleased with the sentence or wish he had received more time. There is no parole in the federal system and Nacchio will have to serve 85% of the sentence. When he comes out of prison, it will be as a convicted felon. He still faces SEC civil actions. My take: Joe Nacchio suffered a supreme fall from grace today. He didn’t get off lightly. The Judge, to his credit, resisted the Government’s request to max him out and flatten him like a pancake. We are all greater than the sum of our misdeeds, including Joe Nacchio.