Some Thoughts on the Nacchio Decision and Insider Trading
On the flight back from my spring break ski trip, I had a chance to read the recent Tenth Circuit opinion reversing the insider trading conviction of former Qwest CEO, Joseph Nacchio. Mr. Nacchio had been convicted of 19 counts of insider trading, sentenced to six years in prison (plus two years’ supervised release), fined $19 million, and ordered to disgorge $52 million more. In a 2-1 decision authored by Judge McConnell, the Tenth Circuit reversed Nacchio’s conviction because of the district court’s exclusion of expert testimony by Dan Fischel (my corporations prof). The court also concluded that retrial will not constitute double jeopardy because a properly instructed jury could have found Nacchio guilty of insider trading. To reach that conclusion, the court had to delve extensively into the law of insider trading and the evidence presented at trial.