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Bernie_Ebbers_Guilty

Bernie_Ebbers_Guilty - Bernie Ebbers Guilty Dan Ackman...

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Bernie Ebbers Guilty Dan Ackman , 03.15.05, 2:30 PM ET NEW YORK - Bernard Ebbers , the former chief executive of WorldCom and perhaps the most powerful American businessman ever to face a criminal trial, was found guilty today of securities fraud, conspiracy and filing false documents with regulators. In the courtroom, Ebbers was red-faced and slightly teary-eyed as he hugged his wife, Kristie , and his stepdaughter. He did not speak to reporters. After the verdict was read, he slowly took time to put on his coat before leaving the court and spoke only briefly with his lawyers. Ebbers' lead attorney, Reid Weingarten , expressed disappointment in the verdict, saying, "We continue to believe there is not one chance in the world that he participated in any efforts to cook the books at WorldCom." Weingarten said there will be an appeal and specifically noted that the government's refusal to immunize three key witnesses deprived the defense of critical testimony at the trial. They included former WorldCom Chief Operating Officer Ronald Beaumont . Weingarten said all three were much closer to the accounting and were much more sophisticated than Ebbers was. Those witnesses, Weingarten said, would have exculpated Ebbers. "This argument historically has not worked well," says G. Jack Chin, a law professor at the University of Arizona. Most courts have concluded that it is up to the prosecutors to decide who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. If a witness decides to take the Fifth and not testify at a criminal trial, he can do so even if that means another defendant will be deprived of his testimony, Chin says.
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