Bernard J. Ebbers did not go straight to jail despite being convicted on nine felony counts and sentenced to 25 year in prison. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones granted a defense request, delaying his entry into prison by at least six months.
In her four-page order, Judge Jones found that Ebbers was unlikely to flee before his appeal and that the issue raised by his defense team was substantial and could lead to a reversal of the conviction or a new trial. Oral arguments in the appeal case could be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, could be heard as early as mid-December. It is, however, unlikely that Ebbers’ ultimate sentence will not include prison time, even if the appeals court finds the sentence to have been too harsh according to USAToday.
CFO.com and the Associated Press report that Ebbers’ attorneys are challenging the jury instruction that Ebbers could be found guilty if the jury believed he suspected a crime was being committed and intentionally remained ignorant or oblivious to the crime.
In other WorldCom news, the Jurist reports that Ohio has reached a $97 million settlement with the individuals and financial institutions alleged to have played a role in the collapse of the company. This settlement is in addition to the $500 million settlement reached two years ago with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Funds from the Ohio settlement will be split between state pensions, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and attorney’s fees.