Hollinger four submits appeal, argues St. Eve gave prosecution “evidentiary shortcuts”

Hollinger four submits appeal, argues St. Eve gave prosecution “evidentiary shortcuts”

At this hour, there are reports from Bloomberg, AP and the Canadian Press that Conrad Black’s appeal has been submitted to judges Easterbrook, Bauer and Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court. The appeal is a joint submission from the Hollinger four (Mark Kipnis mustn’t be finding house arrest as congenial as he thought it would be).

On Black’s behalf, the 101-page document (signed by no less than 13 lawyers) argues in part that “Four counts of conviction are left for his appeal, each vainly searching for a theory of criminality.” And as an overarching theme, “There was no evidence that could have permitted the jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that defendants schemed to defraud.”

Moreover, Judge Amy St. Eve “permitted the prosecution to take two crucial evidentiary shortcuts during the trial.” One was a so-called “ostrich” instruction in which jurors were told that ignorance of wrongdoing was not an excuse if Mr. Black had deliberately looked the other way. The other alleged shortcut was allowing the government to introduce “uncharged, inaccurate SEC disclosures filed long after the fact.” In Black’s case, the appeal also addresses the obstruction charge: “removing from his longtime office personal papers and effects, on the eve of his eviction from the space by new management, and in full view of others, including his assistant and security cameras…There was no evidence whatsoever of any intent to obstruct justice.”

All of which sounds like a plan. Though as the billing odometer rolls past the $200 million mark, surely by this point it’s only the lawyers that are enjoying the ride.

• Newspaper mogul Black’s appeal rips government’s fraud claims [Chicago Tribune]• Black says jury got bad instructions, seeks reversal [Bloomberg]• Black’s lawyers file an appeal of his obstruction, fraud convictions [Canadian Press]