Conrad Black, the former controller of media industry leader Hollinger International, has been released from prison. Prior to the government forcing Mr. Black out of its leadership, Hollinger International, Inc had been the world's third largest media entity, publishing through its various affiliates some of the world's major newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph (UK), Chicago Sun Times (USA), Jerusalem Post (Israel), National Post (Canada), and hundreds of community newspapers in North America.
The United States Supreme Court had been asked to review the vague and broad definition of "honest services" fraud statutes under which Mr. Black had been convicted. Their decision, released on June 24th, 2010, ordered the Illinois appeal court to review the three fraud convictions in light of the Supreme Court's clarification of the definition "honest services" fraud. On July 19th, 2010, Mr. Black was granted bail pending a decision by the court on whether to retry his 2008 criminal fraud conviction. He was released on July 21, 2010, on a $2 million bond signed by Roger Hertog. On August 16th his bail hearing will resume, Mr. Black's lawyers and the prosecution having been ordered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to submit written arguments for the court's review of his case.
Mr. Black's entire trial and conviction was a testament to how far this country has gone in the distortion of our judicial system, and brought to mind the misuse of the law and bullying by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and former North Carolina Duke Lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong. All the sordid parts of nefarious prosecutions were there, including an ambitious government lawyer, a supposedly privileged preferred target, and the use of the extensive powers of the government to wear down and intimidate the defendant and his associates.
Throughout his Quixotic struggle, Mr. Black has remained upbeat and optimistic, ever hopeful that right would win out. After his conviction came down, he remained an inspiration of courage, determination and energy, writing articles for National Review from his prison cell and initiating a course in Literature for his fellow inmates. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Conrad Black. He is a remarkably principled and courageous man.
Congratulations Mr. Black. Welcome back!
"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."