Ebbers petitions appeals court to throw out fraud convictions

[JURIST] Attorneys for former WorldCom [MCI/WorldCom website] CEO Bernard Ebbers [JURIST news archive] have filed a brief urging the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn fraud and conspiracy convictions against Ebbers [JURIST report] saying his trial earlier this year was "fundamentally flawed," and arguing that his 25-year prison sentence [JURIST report] is "unreasonable and legally erroneous." The 96-page brief said the lower court made critical mistakes during the trial by not giving prospective defense witnesses governmental immunity to testify on Ebbers' behalf, and by wrongly instructing the jury that they could convict Ebbers based on his "conscious avoidance" of knowledge about the corporation's fraudulent activities. Ebbers' attorneys argued, "These errors greatly hindered Ebbers' ability to present a defense, unfairly lowered the government's burden of proof and offered the jury a compromise path to conviction." The government's reply brief is due on October 28. Reuters has more.

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