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Ebbers Trial: Sex, Drugs & Numbers

Who's really to blame for WorldCom's downfall? The pencil pushers or the charismatic country coach?

At the trial of former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers in New York today, Ebberss attorney Reid Weingarten warned jurors that: “This case isn’t about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll -- it is about financial records that you have to slog through.”

Thanks, Reid. This comes as a bit of an understatement. Jurors have been bombarded with a blizzard of financial data over the last few days, although it looks as if the case could ultimately rest on the personalities of those involved.

Just as the Feds did yesterday when they painted Ebbers as a calculating tyrant, so Weingarten did a hatchet job on the Government’s two star witnesses, former WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan and the telecom firm’s one-time controller, David Myers (see Ebbers: Bumpkin or Bully?).

Sullivan and Myers have already pleaded guilty in the case, and prosecutors, aided by their testimony, have spent the last few days attempting to prove to jurors that Ebbers was the prime mover behind the fraud.

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