Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

A careful parsing of his Lordship’s interview with Tom Moroney of Bloomberg Radio offers further evidence that despite his bravado, fluency and flashes of humour, Conrad Black’s most ferocious antagonist remains Conrad Black. To be fair, it’s clear that he was sandbagged. Nearly half of what Black clearly thought was an interview about Nixon was devoted to tough questions about the trial and his prospects on appeal. Black was sufficiently taken aback to ask the interviewer, “Do you really [want to get to the book]? Because I thought that was what we were supposed to be talking about.” For his part, Moroney’s approach, while genial, was nonetheless persistent and pointed—a happy relief from the obsequiousness of recent Canadian interlocutors (the Newman/Black imbroglio notwithstanding).

Black, of course, rose to the bait. In addition to the usual recitations (the charges “are nonsense,” “I’ve been persecuted for the last four years,” “No sane person with an IQ above double digits would think otherwise”), Black added fuel to a conflagration that is sure to engulf him three weeks hence. To wit: “The prosecution service is…out of control… The plea bargaining system is largely extortion or suborning of perjury and every informed person in the United States knows this.” Despite his allowing that St. Eve handled the case “with great distinction,” to so denigrate the DOJ when that same judge earned her spurs in the same office that brought the case is, well, mind blowing. The real coup de fou, though, were his comments regarding the jury: “If they had followed the judge’s instruction that they must find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, we would all have been acquitted… It is clear that in this case they did not.” After musing that the split verdict came as a consequence of some jurors who believed him to be entirely innocent bargaining with others so that they might together find at least some guilt and be done with the matter, Black concluded, “I don’t think it should be a matter of tradeoffs.”

Besides being flat wrong, Black has, in this instance, put himself across the bow of a judge who plainly takes jury findings seriously and will, to confirm her sentencing instincts, interview jurors to understand precisely what was in their minds during deliberations (see my post of October 23rd). This is more than playing with matches. This is idiocy. I have characterized the sentencing aspect of this proceeding as a Mayan sacrifice, and so in keeping I would suggest that Black’s comments render it more like assisted suicide. The weird thing is that I think he somehow suspects his complicity in his own downfall. Toward the end of the interview, Black admits, in a decidedly less pugnacious tone, that he has no interest in running a public company ever again and that “Indeed, I doubt the investment community would particularly try to entice me back into it.” Well, they say the longest journey begins with but a single step.

On a lighter note, in this morning’s Star, Rick Westhead weighs in on the Newman/Black 15-rounder, providing 20 inches of free advertising for the National Post in the bargain. In an e-mail to the Star, Black, who despises the paper for its connections to the prosecution, lumps the two together: “Newman’s prediction that I am gone for life to be buggered by American criminals will not come to pass. If you and Newman imagine that this case is over…you are mistaken.”

Black says he’s `not afraid’ of spending time in jail (audio): Source [Bloomberg]

Newman-Black feud rears its ugly hat: Source [Toronto Star]