Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories
For the moment, Conrad Black’s defence rests on confusion sown by conflicting advice from two law firms. Is it just me, or does that fact evoke more incredulity than understanding?
“On Tuesday, the defence pounced on the conflicting legal opinions as [Cravath senior partner William] Rogers repeated that he was ‘shocked’ after learning Torys said Cravath agreed the publisher didn’t have to disclose the CanWest payments — a claim Rogers described as ‘completely false,’” reports Peter Brieger in this morning’s National Post. Lawyers for Black went on to make the point that Peter Atkinson wasn’t familiar with U.S. securities law and that “Chartered accountant Jack Boultbee had never even been to law school, court heard.” (Never been to law school, you say? It’s a wonder he could find his way to the office in the morning!) This line of little-lost-sheep reasoning could come back to haunt the defence. The plain fact is that Conrad Black and his adjutants made a career of telling anyone who would listen that he was smarter than they were. Which is why they gave him their money. Which is why he’s in Chicago today. Per Judge Leo Strine, whose wisdom I’ve cited before, pleading ignorance simply doesn’t have the ring of truth.