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Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

It was a surreal scene this morning as the lawyers met before Amy St. Eve to argue the potentially moot point of what Black et al. would forfeit—besides their freedom—should they be convicted of their alleged crimes. Even weirder was the sight of defence attorney Marc Martin arguing on behalf of Crossharbour, having shuttled down from the 25th floor where he’s presently acting for James “Little Jimmy” Marcello in the Family Secrets mob trial. Edward Siskel, the prosecution’s soft-spoken Harpo Marx character, argued for the government. The various sides seemed mostly to agree to disagree pending new language in a series of potential instructions, with the issue of joint and several vs. individual liability unresolved. As to who will ultimately determine the size of the forfeiture—the jury or St. Eve—that too remained unresolved, though Martin seemed to indicate that Black was leaning toward letting St. Eve decide.

The press benches were full, with scads of BBC types having arrived in anticipation of the verdict, so much speculation ensued. St. Eve had announced that the jury requested the audio in the deliberation room be fixed. This led immediately to conjecture that the jury might have asked to listen to the tape of the New York shareholders’ meeting. What this might mean is anybody’s guess, but one of the cognoscenti suggested that the jury, having never heard Black’s voice in court other than on that particular recording, wanted another crack at trying to discern his intent from the sound of his voice.

Beyond that, this morning’s press included a piece in the Post that quoted Black nemesis Chris Browne’s vote: “I think he may get off… If the jury was more sophisticated, they would throw him in the pokey.” And the Chicago Sun-Times quoting Edward J. Zajac of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management: “Even if there are technical grounds for acquitting someone, it’s hard to imagine there wouldn’t be a loss of status.” All of which reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon in which one of two haggard businessmen, having climbed the mountain to find the wise man, exclaims, “That’s not a wise man, that’s my consultant!”

Black jury reviews evidence [Toronto Star]Hollinger suit against banks seeks $65-million [Globe and Mail]Expect Black to walk: Browne [National Post]Black to the future [Chicago]Countdown to the verdict 2, 3 and 4: Mark Kipnis [Maclean]

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