The judge presiding in the current trial against former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio questioned potential jury members about columns written by Denver Post business columnist Al Lewis, the columnist notes in his Sunday column.
The columns were about Nacchio’s attorney, Herbert Stein, and what he has said about juries in the past.
Lewis wrote, “‘OK. So did you remember reading an article … by a character named Al Lewis?’ the judge asked a potential juror.
“Nottingham is a judge who attacks lawyers for the slightest missteps. He screams at them like he’s a shop foreman. And he‘s calling me a character?
“‘I want to go out of my way to make sure not only that Mr. Nacchio gets a fair trial but that these unfortunate articles about his lawyer … are not held against him,’ Nottingham said.
“Stern made the point as well.
“‘That piece was put in to get the jurors thinking about the fact that Joe Nacchio’s lawyer is no good,’ Stern said.
“‘Judge, I’m not here to fight the press,’ he said, ‘and all I want is a fair trial. That article was deliberate in its use of a quotation totally out of context to prejudice anybody who came into this room against Mr. Nacchio by putting his attorney in a position where they – the jurors – would be angry with him.
“‘If I have committed a sin, and I assure you I didn’t … that is not to be visited upon Mr. Nacchio. The columnist involved has been banging away for years. We have filled the records of this court with columns by that particular columnist. And this court ought not allow this to happen to this defendant.'”
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