Conrad Black roundup: A finger, a fiction, a fallacy and a foundation

Conrad Black roundup: A finger, a fiction, a fallacy and a foundation

While things may be workaday at Florida’s FCI Coleman, the last several news cycles have seen an eclectic array of press coverage. It was announced over the weekend that David Chidley’s oft-printed photograph of Conrad Black flipping the bird to a gaggle of preying vermin during the Trial of the Millennial Epoch has won a Canadian award for spot news photograph of the year—trumping, I might add, 2,200 other entries. Dare I say that the photo and its recognition neatly capture the essence of our national press’s love-hate obsession with Prisoner #18330-424? We loathe and mock him. We bait him. And yet we yearn for, if not his affections, at least his attention. And God bless him: he always seems to return the favour in spades.

Three other reports of a recent vintage caught my eye:

1. A piece in the Leader-Post discussing a speech Eddie Greenspan delivered to a Canadian Bar Association luncheon last Friday in Regina. It was Eddie’s usual fare, but with one delicious dash of irony. There was, of course, the half-hearted defence of his client—“Conrad Black may or may not have done acts that amounted to some elements of a crime. But so far as specific intent is concerned, I will go to my grave believing that Conrad Black had a pure heart”—larded with jibes at the American system: “He also accused U.S. prosecutors of shirking their duty as ‘seekers of justice’ in favour of getting convictions and ‘making a name for themselves.’”

Er, physician, heal thyself.

But the pièce de résistance arrived in the article’s last lines: “Greenspan also took aim at the U.S. laws surrounding property seizure and bail for trying to deprive Black, accused of stealing millions, of his money to mount a proper defence.”

I’ll say.

2. Black hagiographer turned character assassin George Tombs wrote in the Montreal Gazette last Thursday that:

Early one morning in the Chicago courtroom back in June, I was the only journalist present when St. Eve discussed the pros and cons of the Ostrich Injunction with the prosecution and defence lawyers. If the defence had a problem with it at the time, they certainly made a very weak case. One defence lawyer even speculated that convictions in this case were a distinct possibility.

While I remember seeing George there that morning, what with all the clatter in the press benches, I didn’t get a chance to say hello.

3. Finally, Pat Best reports in the Globe that Black’s sister-in-law June Black has taken control of the family’s charitable foundation and that it still has $3.2 million in the kitty. Just enough to keep his Lordship in smokes, I should think.

• Black shouldn’t bank on a pardon [Montreal Gazette] • Black family reactivates Canadian charity [Globe and Mail]• Conrad Black’s finger salute awarded top photo prize [CBC]• Lawyer Edward Greenspan speaks to Regina audience [Regina Leader-Post]