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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

So what was Conrad Black really on trial for?

Yes, I know what the actual charges filed against Black were, but there is an interesting article in the Guardian by former Telegraph editorial director Kim Fletcher called The wages of envy which raises some interesting points.

It is in the nature of court cases that findings of guilt lend an artificial certainty to the world. Black will now find himself spoken of as another Robert Maxwell. But while Black’s detractors were quickly out of the traps to say “we told you so”, it became clear during the trial that nothing going on at Hollinger was in the same league as the Mirror under Maxwell. Before his trial the result had been seen even by Black’s circle as a foregone conclusion. “There’s no way a blue collar jury in Chicago can let a man who looks like Conrad off every charge,” said one of his friends to me, before the trial began

Given that the central charges failed, it does make me wonder if he was not in truth convicted of being unapologetic about being rich and being called Lord Black. Perhaps the verdict had as much to do with the jury selection process and where the prosecution chose to hold the trial than whatever Lord Black actually did or did not do.

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9 comments to So what was Conrad Black really on trial for?

  • Well, stap me. Who would have thought a Guardian columnist (albeit a former Telegraph man) would shame Black’s former staff and colleagues at the Telegraph, ordure be upon them, many of whom have been rubbishing Black in sick-making fashion.

  • B's Freak

    Looks like more social justice through jury nullification (or inverse nullification in this case) to me.

  • Problem for Black in this case was his foolish pride. Regarding the charge of obstruction of justice, he was issued a court order not to remove anything from his office, than some security cameras caught him loading 13 boxes into this limo. Ouch.

  • “Regarding the charge of obstruction of justice, he was issued a court order not to remove anything from his office, than some security cameras caught him loading 13 boxes into this limo. Ouch.”

    His office in Canada,how does a US Federal Attorney arrogate powers in a foreign country? We are looking at a very nasty overreach by US law enforcement here.

  • Thought my July 14th posting about anout newspaper rogue might interest you
    http://bookplatejunkie.blogspot.com

    Lewis Jaffe Philadelphia, Pa.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes the payments were approved by the Board of Directors (although most of the big names that made up the Board turned on Conrad Black when the pressure was on – a warning not to put a lot of “impressive” names on a Board) and yes he paid the taxes that were due on the money.

    But (as others have pointed out) this was never the issue.

    Conrad Black was a proud man with a (very) good opinion of himself who enjoyed a “lavish lifestyle”.

    So the forces of envy had to get him.

    Prosecutor FitzGerald has “form” of course. Rember the the Lewis Libby trial.

    To “out” the wife of Joe Wilson as a C.I.A. person was not a crime (she was no more a covert agent than I am) – and Libby did not do that anyway. It was the anti Iraq was Richard Armitage who went around telling everyone and their cat that the lady worked for the C.I.A.

    But Libby was still put on trail – and convicted (of “obstruction of justice” “telling lies on oath”, or being an agent of the Planet Mars – whatever, it did not matter what it was he was “convicted” of as long as it was something)

    This is because (as in the case of Conrad Black) Prosecutor Fitzgerald understands that (as Perry suggests) it is who is on the jury that matters.

    Of course one of the builders of the modern, almost arbitrary, government was F.D.R. (not the first – but a major builder). Although it would be rubbing salt into Lord Black’s wounds to go on about that too much.

  • Paul Marks

    Anti Iraq war Richard Armitage – not anti Iraq was Richard Armitage.

    Of course what has been lost sight of is the fact that it was Joe Wilson who was lying.

    The British and Americans told the truth when they said that Saddam was trying to get uranium from Niger (this does not mean that the action against Saddam was correct – but the Administration were not telling lies). There is a strong faction conected with government (especially connected to the C.I.A.) that will say and do anything to undermine the present Administration (regardless of the fact that such undermining helps the enemies of the United States) – the book “Sabotage” has it about right.

    As for Mrs Wilson – her words were shown before the Senate committee to be a pack of lies. And the Senate is controlled by the Democrats.

    And chance of the Wilsons going to jail?

    Do not hold your breath.