Former Qwest CEO withheld bad news"”prosecutor

Former Qwest Communications CEO Joe Nacchio made a choice to withhold from investors critical information about the company while he illegally dumped $101 million of stock in early 2001, a federal prosecutor, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

The Associated Press report also said Nacchio's attorney denied it and asked jurors to acquit his client.

The report said assistant US attorney Colleen Conry and defense attorney Herbert Stern pounded home their cases in Nacchio's insider trading trial as a courtroom packed with reporters and spectators watched.

Although managers warned Nacchio they believed Qwest's 2001 financial targets were unrealistic, he kept that information within the company, exercised his options and sold millions of the US telecom giant shares, Conry said.

The report also said Conry took jurors from Qwest's merger with U S West in June 2000 through the spring of 2001, recalling the testimony of executives who warned Nacchio the company faced serious problems meeting 2001 financial targets without relying heavily on one-time sales.

Nacchio, however, did not change those financial projections until the fall of 2001, long after he completed the stock sales, she said.

The report also said Stern reminded jurors that Nacchio believed in the company's prospects and wanted to push his business managers to exceed growth targets. He also emphasized that Nacchio needed to exercise stock options before they expired, the report further said.