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Former WorldCom Chief Claims Tech Ignorance

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The defense focused on Ebbers' humble beginnings, including his stints as a milkman, bouncer and phys ed teacher. "It was mostly about getting along with people," Ebbers testified. This sexagenarian good ol' boy says he barely knows a debit from a credit, yet he managed to mastermind dozens of acquisitions in building a small long-distance company into a telecom giant worth $180 billion at its peak. Some people skills.

Meantime, former WorldCom financial chief Scott Sullivan, who has pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges and agreed to cooperate with the government, testified that Ebbers was a hands-on manager with a command of accounting and financial details. Sullivan said Ebbers was fully aware of WorldCom's cooked books. The company, now out of bankruptcy under the MCI name, has a deal to be acquired by Verizon but is still being pursued by Qwest.

A jury started deliberations last week. If Ebbers is found guilty, he'll be applying his people skills to a whole new crowd.