The conviction of former WorldCom chief executive Bernard Ebbers should be overturned because his trial was flawed, according to papers filed in federal appeals court by Ebbers' lawyers.
Attorneys for the disgraced former chief of the telecommunications conglomerate -- who was convicted of masterminding an $11 billion accounting fraud in March -- charged that the court should have forced the government to grant immunity to several prospective defense witnesses.
The 96-page appeal also said that the jury was "improperly permitted" to vote for a conviction even if the telecommunications company's underlying accounting entries fully complied with accepted accounting standards.
Attorneys for Ebbers also said that the court wrongly instructed the jury that it could convict Ebbers on the basis of what was termed "conscious avoidance" of knowledge of the massive accounting fraud at the company, which eventually forced it to file for bankruptcy.
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