Disgraced former newspaper mogul Conrad Black moved another step closer to a U.S. prison earlier this month after a federal judge in Chicago denied his pleas for acquittal and a new trial. Last July, Black, accountant John Boultbee and corporate lawyers Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis were each convicted of three counts of mail fraud. (Black was also convicted of obstruction of justice.) This followed a four-month trial that examined a fraudulent scheme the defendants hatched to divert money from Hollinger International Inc. into their own pockets between 1998 and 2001.
Judge Amy St. Eve decided that the evidence supported the jury’s verdict. Answering arguments from the defendants that they had been improperly yer Andrew Frey to spearhead what promises to be a final, colossally expensive showdown against his accusers.
convicted on two counts, she concluded these payments were bonus payments fraudulently disguised as non-competition agreements. Other arguments were similarly rejected.
The lone victory went to Kipnis. The jury had found him guilty in connection with “supplemental” payments of US$600,000 made to Black, Atkinson, Boultbee and fellow exec-turned-prosecution-witness David Radler. “No rational jury could have found that Kipnis had the requisite intent to defraud,” St. Eve wrote, and erased the count. His remaining convictions stand.
Facing sentencing on Nov. 30, Black’s last hope to stay out of jail is a successful appeal. To this end, he has retained Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and prominent U.S. appeals lawyer Andrew Frey to spearhead what promises to be a final, colossally expensive showdown against his accusers.