Conrad Black Won’t Be Retried

Andrew M. Harris


January 13, 2010

Conrad Black, the former Hollinger International Inc. chairman, won’t be retried on two charges related to the so-called honest services fraud statute, a federal prosecutor told a U.S. judge.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago last year overturned two of the four criminal counts upon which a federal jury had convicted Black in 2007.

“It is not our current intention to retry any of the defendants,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Porter said during a 15-minute court appearance today. Black had served more than two years of his 6 1/2-year sentence before being freed on bail during his appeal.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, who presided over the trial, today set June 24 for resentencing Black for one count of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

The ex-publisher and author, along with three other Hollinger executives, was convicted in 2007 of participating in the theft of $6.1 million from the Chicago-based newspaper company.

Under his leadership, first as chief executive officer and then as chairman, Hollinger was the world’s third-largest publisher of English-language newspapers. Its holdings included the Chicago Sun-Times, Canada’s National Post, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post. Hollinger is now known as Sun- Times Media Group Inc.

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court, after finding that the jury may have improperly convicted Black on the fraud charges, returned the case last June to the appeals court in Chicago, which upheld Black’s convictions on two charges. Black is petitioning the Supreme Court for review of that ruling.

The appellate panel said prosecutors could decide whether to retry Black and his codefendants on the two overturned charges.

“We are all awaiting the Supreme Court,” Black told reporters today as he left the courthouse. He and his lawyers declined to comment further.

Porter told St. Eve the government wouldn’t formally move to dismiss the overturned charges until after the Supreme Court decides whether to consider the appeal.

The case is U.S. v. Black, 05-cr-00727, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Chicago).