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Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Smatterings of Conrad Black in the news today as his portrait by Andy Warhol sells at Sotheby’s for more than expected ($240,000 vs. $200,000 U.S.), and Judge St. Eve grants Black and his sentencing consultant Jeffrey Steinback another 10 days to prep for his hearing (now set for December 10).That the painting’s purchaser, Los Angeles art dealer Michael Kohn, reportedly didn’t know Black from Adam’s house cat probably left his Lordship a little cold. Beyond that, the earliest and clearest indication of St. Eve’s willingness to inflict justice without mercy should come next Wednesday at the sentencing of Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a Palestinian-American academic who, as part of the Palestinian diaspora, was held criminally liable for supporting the national aspirations of his former homeland. Having been acquitted of the most serious “terrorism” charges (charges based in part on evidence from disgraced former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who helped foist the WMD fiasco on the American public), Ashqar is still facing a government recommendation of life in prison for his refusal to co-operate with the grand jury. Members of the Illinois defence bar with experience in the federal prosecutor’s office agree the case is a calumny, and yet, because there’s an underlying agenda, St. Eve will likely split the difference, thereby saving face for the government. Conrad Black, with nothing like the same weight of moral suasion on his side, is also an “agenda” case, and will, I fear, suffer a similar fate, maybe worse.

Warhol picture of former media baron sold for $240,000 [The Guardian]

Andy Warhol portrait of Conrad Black sold [Daily Telegraph]

Conrad Black Wins 10-Day Postponement of Sentence (Update1) [Bloomberg]

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