Conrad Black: Reports to jail





[NY Sun: Conrad Black, a founding director of The New York Sun, is scheduled to report today to federal prison in Florida, to begin serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence for mail fraud and obstruction of justice. At the trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, he was acquitted of nine of the 13 charges against him; he is appealing the convictions. The following dispatch was sent yesterday.]

* * *

It is a terrible thing to be falsely accused, and wrongly convicted, even of a fraction of the original charges, and unjustly incarcerated. For persisting in seeking the recognition of my innocence of these charges, I have been portrayed as defiant, or at least in denial. I defy and deny unjust charges, not the practical difficulties I have faced for the last four years and am facing now. I would qualify in political terms as a reasonable member of the law-and-order section of the public. And as a conscientious and religious matter, I believe in the confession and repentance of misconduct, as well as in the punishment of crimes. If I had committed any of the offenses charged, I would have pleaded guilty and asked for a sentence that would enable me to atone for my crime and assuage my guilt and shame.

As my counsel said in closing remarks at trial, the U.S. government became a tool in what was and remains a factional struggle within what were formerly the splendid companies that the defendants in this case, and others, built. The U.S. government and the sponsors of the indictments, and their acolytes in Canada, have destroyed these companies. The Hollinger earth is scorched, the shareholders wiped out, many of the employees laid off, but the factional war continues to the Circuit Court of Appeal in Chicago.

There was no evidence to support two of the remaining convictions, and the only evidence, from the chief cooperating witness, was exculpatory. For the third count, the evidence was an uncorroborated allegation of a non-incriminating telephone conversation, which did not, in fact, take place.

On obstruction of justice it was in evidence that I completely complied with all document requests, that the boxes being moved as I vacated my office of 27 years contained nothing relevant to the case the SEC did not already possess. I had no knowledge of any further curiosity of theirs, nothing to do with selecting the contents of the boxes and knew nothing about their contents, and did not look at the boxes on the weekend they were in my home. I have never been accused of violating a Canadian court order, and did not do so, and ensured that I was recorded by security cameras I had had installed to assure that there could be no suggestion of my doing anything underhanded. We have a Toronto court to thank for the massive and completely misleading exposure that the grainy security film that caused me to appear furtive has caused. We have the same court to thank for a number of other unjust decisions.


comments powered by Disqus