This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, August 27, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.
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TERRY KEENAN, GUEST HOST: Just when you thought the situation couldn't get any worse at MCI -- it has. Criminal charges against the troubled telecom company and its former executives were filed today by the state of Oklahoma.
And here is the man who’s behind those charges, the attorney general of Oklahoma, Drew Edmondson. Mr. Edmondson, good have you with us.
You know, some of the federal authorities saying that you jumped the gun here. Are you grandstanding with the suit? Why did you bring it at this point in time?
DREW EDMONDSON, OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Oh, thank you, Terry. It’s good to be with you. I had an exchange of letters with the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York back in May.
On May 27, I wrote him and advised him that our criminal investigation was ongoing, that we intended to pursue that, and asked him who a contact person would be in his office to stay in touch. This is now August, and he’s yet to reply to that letter.
So we had felony violations of securities law in Oklahoma that we felt it necessary to proceed with, and we did so this morning.
KEENAN: We contacted Bernie Ebbers’ spokespeople, and they say, you know, Mr. Ebbers has been investigated up and down and that there’s a total lack of evidence that Mr. Ebbers committed crimes. This is a criminal charge. It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. How are you going to go after Mr. Ebbers when so many have failed in the last 14 months?
EDMONDSON: Well, I’m not sure anybody has failed yet. It’s clear that the U.S. attorney’s office in New York has not yet filed charges, but they’ve achieved four guilty pleas already on other officers of WorldCom. What their timing is and what their reason for it is, I’m not sure.
I feel confident that the evidence is available to go forward against Mr. Ebbers and the other defendants that we charge. If he is so very confident of being exonerated, then I should think he would want to come immediately to Oklahoma, be arraigned and demand a speedy trial.
KEENAN: Yes. How does this proceed? Does he have to turn himself in to Oklahoma authorities?
EDMONDSON: We will give all the defendants an opportunity to turn themselves in voluntarily, and that will remain open for a week. If satisfactory arrangements have not been made by the end of that week, then arrest warrants will issue. We will have them arrested where they can be found, and they’ll be extradited to Oklahoma.
KEENAN: And you’re going after MCI as well, the company hoping to emerge from bankruptcy. Why go after the company?
EDMONDSON: It’s my feeling, particularly in the actions of the Securities and Exchange Commission, that the sanctions against WorldCom as a company have been totally inadequate. The fine that they were leveled is going to be paid for in part by their own stock and in part by a refund that they’re getting from the IRS.
KEENAN: I’m sorry, but we’re out of time. We’re going to have to leave it there. We appreciate you joining us.
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