Without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned down the appeal of former WorldCom Chairman Bernard Ebbers, who was convicted in 2005 of conspiracy, securities fraud and other crimes that precipitated the bankruptcy of WorldCom in 2002. (After emerging in 2004 from the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, WorldCom was renamed MCI and subsequently acquired by Verizon Communications.) Ebbers, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison, is now incarcerated in a Louisiana federal prison, and the Supreme Court action assures that Ebbers will serve at least 21 years as mandated by a New York trial judge. Appealing a Second Circuit court ruling that upheld the conviction, attorneys for Ebbers argued that the federal trial court had wrongly allowed prosecutors to deny immunity to key defense witnesses, thus enabling the government “to wield its power to grant or withhold immunity in a manner that grossly skewed the evidence, depriving Ebbers of a fair trial.” Attorneys also objected to instructions indicating that jurors could consider Ebbers’ “conscious avoidance” of details about the accounting scandal during deliberations. Noting, however, that Ebbers was convicted on actual knowledge of fraud as well as on conscious avoidance, the U.S. Solicitor General told the high court that “any error in instructing the jury on a theory of conscious avoidance . . . was harmless.”