Conrad Black is pinning his hopes on clemency from U.S. President
George W. Bush as a last-ditch effort to get out of jail early, and he
wants his former publishing company to foot the legal bill.
Lawyers for the deposed press baron, who is serving a 61/2-year prison
sentence in Florida for fraud and obstruction of justice, recently
submitted legal bills to Sun-Times Media Group, Inc., some of which
referred to work done in pursuit of a clemency plea, according to
sources familiar with the matter.
Lord Black did not respond to questions this week about the clemency
request, and his lawyer, Andrew Frey, was unavailable. In e-mails to
The Globe and Mail earlier this month, Lord Black said he was doing
fine in prison, but added that he had been “horrifyingly busy with one
thing and another, which is why I am late replying.” When asked what
was occupying his time, Lord Black replied: “Writing and reviewing
legal initiatives, as well as dealing with my students.”
Lord Black and three other former Hollinger executives, John Boultbee,
Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis, were convicted last year of fraud over
the diversion of $6.1-million from the newspaper company.
Lord Black was also convicted of obstruction of justice. All four lost
two appeals of their convictions, but there have been reports Lord
Black planned to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In June, just weeks before he lost an appeal, Lord Black said he had no
plans to request clemency, and had “nothing to do with any such