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U.S. top court hears ex-media baron Conrad Black's appeal
Reuters on Yahoo ^ | 12/8/09 | James Vicini

Posted on 12/08/2009 2:43:29 PM PST by NormsRevenge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A lawyer for former media baron Conrad Black urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn his fraud conviction, and several justices asked whether the federal law at issue was too vague.

The Canadian-born Black, a member of Britain's House of Lords, has been in prison since March 2008, when he began serving a 6 1/2-year sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice.

Attorney Miguel Estrada, representing Black and two ex-colleagues who were found guilty of defrauding shareholders of one-time newspaper publishing giant Hollinger International Inc, argued before the Supreme Court that all convictions in the case must be overturned.

A U.S. jury in Chicago found the three men guilty of swindling the company out of $6.1 million by giving themselves illegal bonuses. Hollinger was once the world's third-largest publisher of English-language newspapers.

At issue in the case is a 28-word law that the U.S. Congress adopted in 1988 that makes it illegal for public officials and executives to commit fraud by depriving those they work for of the right to "honest services."

The law has been used in a number of high-profile business cases, including that of former Enron Corp Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling, whose case the Supreme Court is expected to hear in March.

It also has been used in a wide range of public corruption cases, including those of disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and two former Illinois governors, George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday considered two cases -- one involving Black and the other involving former Alaska legislator Bruce Weyhrauch, who was charged under the law.

Justice Antonin Scalia repeatedly criticized the law for being "inherently vague" and said Congress should have been more specific.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Canada; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Government; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: 1988; abramoff; antoninscalia; appeal; blago; blagojevich; bruceweyhrauch; conradblack; enron; fitzgerald; georgeryan; governors; hollinger; jackabramoff; jeffreyskilling; mediabaron; rodblagojevich; ryan; scilling; scotus; skilling; weyhrauch

1 posted on 12/08/2009 2:43:29 PM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Conrad Black was more in favor of the USA and traditional family than any other publication owner in Canada or Britain. That’s why he’s been officiously and falsely attacked by the richest constituents and their judicial employees.

2 posted on 12/08/2009 3:35:40 PM PST by familyop (cbt. engr. (cbt), NG, '89-' 96, Duncan Hunter or no-vote)
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To: familyop; NormsRevenge
If Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer can agree on something, then there is a good chance that this "law" will be overturned, and Sir Conrad Black may be a free man before long. I don't expect he will get an apology from the legal hack "Chicago's Torquemada" Patrick Fitzgerald. And good to see Miguel Estrada in good form before SCOTUS, though I had hopes to see him as Justice one day.

High Court: Vague law may free Conrad Black - NYP, 2009 December 9, by Paul Tharp

3 posted on 12/10/2009 12:41:03 AM PST by CutePuppy (If you don't ask the right questions you may not get the right answers)
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To: CutePuppy
Sir Conrad Black

Baron Black of Crossharbour or Lord Black, in fact - he's a Lord, not a Knight, and is not entitled to be addressed as Sir (which is actually a lower rank than he holds).

4 posted on 12/11/2009 4:44:19 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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To: naturalman1975

Was not sure if he is still in the House of Lords, there has been several attempts to oust him in the last couple of years, as well as Jeffrey Archer, on the Tory side, or whether the title would stay after being expelled.

In any case, I did “Americanize” the salutation, him being a former Canadian. Correction noted and apology extended.

5 posted on 12/11/2009 6:00:20 PM PST by CutePuppy (If you don't ask the right questions you may not get the right answers)
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To: CutePuppy

It’s just one of my things - whether they have any real value or not, I know a few people with titles, and I have wound up a fair expert on the honours system.

Lord Black is still allowed to sit in the House of Lords, but was expelled from his party so would have to sit on the cross benches unless they or another party took him in.

At the moment, there’s no way to remove a Life Peer from the Lords (there isn’t even a mechanism by which they can voluntarily resign their peerage, which does exist for hereditary peers) and while there are moves to introduce one, it probably won’t be retroactive.

In the past, Peers have been executed for murder or even treason - and they still didn’t lose their title. The only exception were four Lords (three Princes and Dukes of the British Royal Family who were also German royals, and a Viscount) all of whom fought for the Germans in World War I, and who were stripped of the British titles in 1919.

6 posted on 12/11/2009 11:35:36 PM PST by naturalman1975 ("America was under attack. Australia was immediately there to help." - John Winston Howard)
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