NEW YORK – A federal judge Monday ruled that former WorldCom (search) Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers (search) must stand trial in New York on securities fraud charges, rejecting his bid to have the case moved to Mississippi.
Lawyers for Ebbers argued the case should be moved to Mississippi, where the long-distance company was once based, because most of the witnesses likely to testify at the trial still live there.
But U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones ruled the case should remain in New York.
"I have concluded that the defendant has not met his burden of justifying the transfer, and find that the prosecution should remain in this jurisdiction, where it was originally brought," she wrote in the ruling.
Ebbers is charged with lying to securities regulators and committing fraud in connection with the company's $11 billion accounting scandal. His trial is due to begin in early November, although his lawyers have asked for a delay.
Ebbers faces up to five years in prison if convicted of conspiracy. The counts of securities fraud and making false statements in public filings each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
WorldCom is now known as MCI and is based in Virginia.