A federal judge has denied a bid by former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers for a new trial, paving the way for him to be sentenced Wednesday in the record $11 billion fraud.
Ebbers had argued the judge or prosecutors should have granted immunity to three witnesses that Ebbers contends could have helped clear him of charges related to the fraud.
His lawyers also said prosecutors unfairly prejudiced jurors by suggesting in their closing statement that there was evidence outside the trial record that proved government witnesses were telling the truth.
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“I find that none of these grounds requires a new trial,” Judge Barbara Jones wrote in a ruling made public Tuesday.
Ebbers’ lawyers had sought the testimony of the three witnesses — former WorldCom executives — Ron Beaumont, Ron Lomenzo and Stephanie Scott — but each invoked their Fifth Amendment right and did not testify.
“Defendant fails to show that the government has used immunity to gain a tactical advantage over him, or that the testimony of Beaumont, Lomenzo or Scott would be exculpatory,” Jones wrote.
Jones also noted that she had instructed jurors to disregard the remark in the prosecution closing argument.