Eddie Greenspan: defending Conrad Black “was like a forced march through a swamp”

Eddie Greenspan: defending Conrad Black “was like a forced march through a swamp”

With the curtain set to come down on Friday (with the almost-certain rejection of his appeal to remain free on bail pending appeal), there’s a surprising amount of Conrad Black–related journalistic flotsam and jetsam today. The Star’s Rick Westhead, for example, provides a backgrounder detailing how life will change for his Lordship inside the pokey:

“While Black has a taste for fine cuisine—days before his sentencing, the one-time newspaper baron ordered a roasted beet salad and a ‘duo of veal’ during a dinner with the Star—his menu options, starting perhaps with Monday lunch, will be more pedestrian. ‘There’s a lot of spaghetti and fried and baked chicken, macaroni and cheese,’ says Walt Pavlo, who was sentenced to 48 months for corporate fraud and spent time in U.S. minimum-security prisons. ‘It’s like mediocre high-school cafeteria food, lots of starch.’”

That’s just the kind of justice a Toronto Star reader can really appreciate.

Beyond that bit of nutritional righteousness, there are a couple of wire stories on Black et al.’s rejoinder to the government’s 47-page report. First among them is the AP’s Mike Robinson, who reports that “in his 12-page brief filed with two co-defendants, Black’s attorneys argued that from reading the government’s papers ‘this court would never know the jury acquitted applicants on the overwhelming number of charges.’”

Not if they’d been living under a rock—at the bottom of Lake Michigan, with their fingers in their ears—for the past six months, they wouldn’t.

On a decidedly marginal note, Eddie Greenspan, reflecting on his assignment of defending Black, is reported to have told a classroom of prospective lawyers at the University of Western Ontario that “it was like a forced march through a swamp… I may have closed my eyes at times when the evidence was driving me crazy and I listened to other lawyers… You can go to any court in this country and somebody is sleeping.”

That’s reassuring.

And finally, a word from Lord Black in (where else?) the National Post commenting on the demise of William F. Buckley Jr. in the context of their recent spat:

“This newspaper published, about two months ago, some reflections of mine on a column he [Buckley] had written about my legal travails. It was typical of him that he wrote me a very kind message, and, at great inconvenience to himself, journeyed 30 miles to have dinner with me twice in the following couple of weeks. Though severely bothered by emphysema, arthritis, and lesser ailments, he was still a sparkling conversationalist and a discriminating gourmand.”

Could there be a finer testament to any man, alive or dead, than that he would travel 30 miles to have dinner with Conrad Black?

Black heading to new ‘big house’ [Toronto Star] • Conrad Black on William F. Buckley Jr. [National Post]• Lawyer admits to daily catnaps in court [London Free Press]• News baron Black in fresh bid to delay start of sentence [Chicago Sun-Times]• News baron Conrad Black in fresh bid to delay start of sentence [CP]