WorldCom executive seeks hearing delay


Saturday, December 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


An Oklahoma County judge has scheduled a Dec. 23 hearing on a request by former WorldCom executive Scott Sullivan to delay his Jan. 26 preliminary hearing on charges of violating state securities laws.

Sullivan, whose trial on federal charges is scheduled Feb. 2, states in legal papers that holding a preliminary hearing on the state charges just days before his federal trial "is fundamentally unfair and extremely prejudicial."

Sullivan's motion claims the state does not oppose pushing back the preliminary hearing to late April.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed 15 felony charges in August against the company, former Chief Executive Officer Bernard Ebbers, Sullivan and four others.

The company and Ebbers have not been hit with federal charges and entered innocent pleas to the Oklahoma charges.

Edmondson dropped the charges against Ebbers on Nov. 20 after he could not persuade Special District Judge James H. Paddleford to delay a Dec. 1 preliminary hearing. Edmondson is expected to refile the charges.

Sullivan has pleaded innocent to the state charges, which stemmed from the $11 billion accounting scandal at the telecommunications company now known as MCI.

The four other former executives have not made initial appearances in Oklahoma but have pleaded guilty to the federal charges and are cooperating with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York.

Edmondson has said he expects the four to plead guilty in the state case and cooperate with state investigators, as well.

The federal charges against Sullivan involve 11 counts, including conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud and making false statements in credit and loan applications, according to his brief. If convicted, he faces as much as 25 years in prison.

He is also a defendant in more than 60 civil lawsuits across the nation, according to legal papers.