Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Plenty to mull over today in light of Amy St. Eve’s entirely expected ruling quashing Conrad Black et al.’s efforts to elicit a new trial or overturn their convictions (with one notable, if relatively minor, exception: the judge overruled one of Mark Kipnis’ three fraud convictions). Beyond recitations of the obvious, reports of St. Eve’s findings suggest that this could be the first in a series of legal routs facing Black up to and including his sentencing. Writing in the National Post, Peter Brieger and Theresa Tedesco point out that new sentencing guidelines introduced in 2006 for securities fraud could add as much as two years to each count of the fraud convictions facing the Hollinger four. The Eddies, on the other hand, argue that those guidelines were introduced long after the crimes were committed and that, at any rate, given the leniency of Radler’s sentence, the mammoth sentences being asked for by the prosecution (in Black’s case, 19 to 24 years) “offends fundamental notions of justice.” For all that, a close reading of St. Eve’s findings points to the desperation of the defendants’ arguments. To wit:

“Contrary to Defendants’ suggestion, the government does not have to introduce the envelope used for the mailing. Ledesma, 632 F.2d at 675 (‘It is of course true that the introduction of the envelope in which the correspondence was mailed would have been strong direct evidence of mailings, but testimony as to office practice is sufficient proof of mailing.’)”

That’s almost a textbook definition of grasping at straws. Moreover, St. Eve’s recounting of the findings at trial as encompassed by the jury’s verdict is blunt bordering on censorious:

“Moreover, APC did not intend to re-enter the community newspaper business in the United States. In other words, Defendants received $5.5 million not to compete even though there was essentially nothing to compete against. Furthermore, the non-competition agreements were executed with International’s own subsidiary, APC. In essence, Defendants paid themselves not to compete with themselves.”

Remember, that’s the judge’s take, not the prosecution’s. In short, Kipnis’ victory notwithstanding, this finding bodes an ill wind blowing Black’s way come November 30th. Reports this morning in the Post that Alan Dershowitz has joined Andrew Frey in formulating Black’s post-sentence appeal suggest only one thing: he’s going to have to earn his money.

Star lawyer on Black’s team for appeal: Source [National Post]

Black’s bid for new trial quashed: Source [National Post]

Black strikes out in bid for new trial; lawyer gets break: Source [Chicago Sun-Times]

Judge rejects Black’s plea to have convictions overturned: Source [The Guardian]

Judge upholds Black’s criminal conviction: Source [The Globe and Mail]