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Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

David Radler is turning out to be a veritable gusher for the defence. Since Monday, his stumblings and “clarifications” have brightened the countenances of all concerned save the prosecution. And to top it off, yesterday, in one fell swoop, he went a long way toward putting himself on Mark Kipnis’s holiday gift list by confirming that the defendant’s $100,000 bonus, far from being his cut of a criminal conspiracy as the government contends, was in fact, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports, a reward for “saving Hollinger millions of dollars by doing legal work that could have gone to outside attorneys.”

Meanwhile, as reports of Radler’s self-immolation pile skyward, this morning’s offerings include an intriguing footnote. A piece in The New York Times traces the life and career of former Hollinger International audit committee member Marie-Josée Kravis, pointing out her rise from Ottawa to Montreal to New York. The writer compares and contrasts Kravis’s situation with the similarly peripatetic Conrad Black:

“Part of the Canadian establishment in the 1980s, they emerged together in New York business and social circles in the 1990s. Today, Ms. Kravis remains a pillar of New York society, while Mr. Black, if convicted, faces a life prison term…

How sharply the symmetry of their respective ascents has diverged was displayed vividly this month in a Chicago courtroom… For Mr. Black, the sharpest cut of all may have come with the low regard she seemed to show for the 60th-birthday party he gave for his second wife, Barbara, in 2000. Held at La Grenouille, a restaurant that caters to tastemakers on the Upper East Side, it was a lavish bid by Mr. Black to cement his place in Manhattan society, and those invited included Oscar de la Renta, Dixon Boardman and Barbara Walters. Prosecutors contend that this was a social gathering, not a business one as Mr. Black insists. On the stand, Ms. Kravis agreed: ‘It was a birthday celebration,’ not a business event, she said. And had she attended the party?‘Only the last 15 or 30 minutes,’ she replied flatly. ‘I had another obligation that evening.’”

For all Lord Black’s wounds, self-inflicted or otherwise, that last line might just be the cruellest blow of all.

Parallel Paths Diverging Sharply [NY Times]Radler hurts case against lawyer [Chicago]Did Black tell truth about payments? [Toronto Star]Radler says lawyers’ bonuses justified [Financial Times]
Jurors told at the Black trial money was not stolen [National Post]

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