Conrad Black, the funnest of the Canadian-born British press lords, is gearing up for his appeal on his conviction for fraud by taking down William F. Buckley Jr. and Henry Kissinger, two pals who stabbed him in the back. (The backstabbing only comes into play, of course, if you believe as Black does: That he is completely innocent. You, or a jury, certainly may not feel the same!) Buckley had written a letter to the judge to help reduce sentencing—but then pretty much retracted (or at least undermined it) over at the National Review. Kissinger, though, went around town proclaiming that Black was guilty "of something," and today Black writes the best takedown of him ever.
A 1981 Andy Warhol portrait of felon-baron Conrad Black sold for $240,000 yesterday. The Los Angeles art dealer who bought it, however, had no idea who Black was when he started bidding. Ouch. Though really, it's probably far more useful to recognize a Warhol than a Black, especially considering you won't be seeing much of the latter for the next 15-30 years. Stay tuned for Black's sentencing date, postponed this morning by 10 days to December 10.
Conrad Black, the one-time newspaper baron who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice in the most fascinating case in the world that few outside of Canada care about, was denied a new trial by a judge reviewing the jury verdict. Black will be sentenced at the end of the month. He'll either get like, 2 days in prison or 400 years probs. [AP]
Convicted fraudster Conrad Black is making the most of things while he remains free pending appeal: He recently filmed a segment for the Canadian humor program "The Rick Mercer Report." Black instructs viewers on how to "wax" maple leaves, which is apparently something they do for fun in Canada. The clip is actually pretty funny; this kind of dry, self-deprecating humor will serve Black well in the slammer.
As part of a settlement between Conrad Black and the convicted fraudster's bankrupt Ravelston Corp., the convicted fraudster will pay nearly $400,000 to buy back a portrait of himself painted by the late Andy Warhol. "Andy used to take a Polaroid shot, blow it up, put it on four silk-screens of different colours, and sell them. We got on very well, so he sold me all four for the price of one.... He was a very entertaining character." [The Globe & Mail]
Legal experts are suggesting that Conrad Black might spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted on four charges of fraud and obstruction. Why? "Acquitted conduct sentencing enhancement," the result of a 1997 ruling by the Supreme Court that allows prosecutors to "show on a 'preponderance of the evidence' that Lord Black engaged in illegal conduct that it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The preponderance of the evidence... test is the much lower standard of proof used in civil trials and means that something is more likely true than not." We're not at all fans of Black, but we've got to side with Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote in his dissent from the ruling, "The notion that a charge that cannot be sustained by proof beyond a reasonable doubt may give rise to the same punishment as if it had been so proved is repugnant."
Conrad Black reactions and suppositions: The convicted fraudster is "likely to remain free after this week's bail hearing because he's a first-time offender who's repeatedly vowed to fight the charges against him." In an e-mail to the Toronto Globe & Mail, a defiant Black predicts that he will be cleared of the four charges on which he was found guilty: "'We move on to the next phase in this long war. We got rid of most of [the charges], and expect to get rid of the rest on appeal."
The fucking jury in the fucking Conrad Black fraud trial, which has gone on for fucking ever, is apparently deadlocked. If those fuckers don't undeadlock themselves but quick we are heading to fucking Chicago, where we will knock some fucking heads together. If we have to sit through another three months of this fucking shit we will kill several people and also ourselves. [Globe & Mail]