Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, pleaded for leniency yesterday from the judge who will sentence him for his conviction on charges of orchestrating the largest securities fraud in the nation’s history.
Lawyers for Mr. Ebbers, who will be sentenced on July 13, asked the court to depart from federal guidelines when considering his case, according to documents filed with the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York. They cited his charitable works, health problems and lack of a criminal record, among other items.
The lead defense lawyer, Reid H. Weingarten, said Mr. Ebbers, 63, did not sell his shares during WorldCom’s heyday, “lost everything” as a result of the company’s collapse and now owes more than $400 million.
“We urge the court to take into account these unusual circumstances that distinguish this case from a typical securities fraud case in which a defendant reaps substantial profits at the expense of company shareholders,” the filing stated.
His lawyers also filed 169 letters of support from family members, friends and business associates. Mr. Ebbers said he suffered heart problems.