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Conrad Black wants new trial, says it would be `miscarriage of justice to let verdict stand'

Conrad Black wants new trial, says it would be `miscarriage of justice to let verdict stand'

Convicted former media baron Conrad Black is asking a judge to grant him a new trial or an acquittal, saying it "would be a miscarriage of justice to let the verdict stand."
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve should consider whether trial witnesses were credible, according to motions filed late Monday, more than a month after he was convicted of swindling the Hollinger International newspaper empire.
"The court must consider the weight of the evidence, and must grant a new trial if that evidence preponderates heavily against the verdict, such that it would be a miscarriage of justice to let the verdict stand," the motion said.
Black, who remains free on $21 million (euro15.38 million) bond pending his sentencing on Nov. 30, told The Canadian Press in an e-mail Monday night that he was confident in his chances for success.
"I am fine thank you, and enjoying my house in Palm Beach," he wrote. "I remain optimistic."
Black, who gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to become a member of Britain's House of Lords, was told to stay in Chicago or in Palm Beach, Florida. He was not allowed to return to Canada.
Black's attorneys did not immediately return telephone messages left by The Associated Press after business hours.
Black was convicted July 13 of three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice. He was acquitted on nine other counts.
Three other former Hollinger executives _ John Boultbee, Peter Y. Atkinson, and Mark Kipnis, also were convicted of fraud charges. They also filed motions Monday for new trials or acquittals.
The government's star witness at the trial was F. David Radler, Black's partner in building the Hollinger empire over three decades. He pleaded guilty to mail fraud and agreed to testify in exchange for a lenient 29-month sentence and a $250,000 (euro183,043) fine.
St. Eve rejected a defense request to recall Radler to cross-examine him on the deal, a ruling that defense attorneys said was unfair.
"The only evidence linking Mr. Black to the payments (other than his receipt of a cheque) is the unsupported, incredible testimony of the government's co-operating witness, F. David Radler," the filing said. "The alleged telephone call on which the government's case rests were undocumented, and even Radler himself could not remember them in detail."
The motion also said St. Eve erred when she gave so-called "ostrich" instructions to the jury, which meant Black could be found guilty by knowingly avoiding, or sticking his head in the sand like an ostrich, while illegal activity took place.
The government failed to prove Black knew or deliberately avoided proof he was involved in wrongdoing, the motion said.
In a separate motion, Black's lawyers said the government failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and never produced evidence that Black tried to obstruct justice by removing 13 boxes of documents from his Toronto offices despite a court order sealing the premises.
"At best, the government showed it was possible that Mr. Black intended to obstruct a government proceeding by removing documents. But the defense provided an innocent explanation for Black's behavior that was at least as plausible, if not far more likely to be true," the motion said. "The undisputed trial evidence showed that generally the company documents contained in Mr. Black's boxes were mere copies and that most of the documents had already been turned over to the SEC."


Updated : 2021-06-17 07:48 GMT+08:00