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News baron Black in fresh bid to delay start of sentence

News baron Black in fresh bid to delay start of sentence

Former newspaper baron Conrad Black made a last-minute plea to an appeals court Wednesday to delay the start of his sentence for engineering a major fraud on shareholders in his Hollinger media empire.
In his 12-page brief filed with two co-defendants, Black's attorneys argued that from reading the government's papers "this court would never know the jury acquitted applicants on the overwhelming number of charges."
Black hopes the court will take the extraordinary step of allowing him to remain free on bond instead of surrendering on Monday to a federal prison near Coleman, Florida, to start his 6 1/2-year sentence for fraud. Black has also been ordered to pay $6.1 million (euro4.05 million) in restitution.
The appeals court is expected to make its decision by Friday.
Black's latest brief reminded the appeals judges that the 62-year-old former chairman of the big Hollinger International Inc. newspaper holding company had been acquitted of the bulk of the charges against him.
But he and his co-defendants were convicted July 13 of fraud for allegedly siphoning money out of the company and falsely claiming they were getting non-compete payments from buyers of Hollinger assets.
Non-compete payments are sometimes made by buyers of newspapers in exchange for promises from the sellers not to return to the same circulation area and compete with the new owners. But prosecutors argued that Black was essentially just dipping into the shareholders' money.
The Canadian-born Black was also convicted of obstruction of justice for hauling boxes of business documents out of his Toronto office.
On Dec. 10, U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve sentenced Black to 78 months, John Boultbee to 27 months and Peter Y. Atkinson to 24 months.
Boultbee and Atkinson are also due to report to prison Monday.
Appeal bonds are extremely rare but are sometimes granted if the judges believe that there is a real possibility the appeal could succeed.
Hollinger International Inc. was once one of the world's biggest newspaper holding companies. Its properties included The Daily Telegraph of London, the Chicago Sun-Times and The Jerusalem Post as well as hundreds of community newspapers across the United States and Canada.
All the big papers except the Sun-Times have now been sold and the company that emerged changed its name to Sun-Times Media Group.


Updated : 2021-05-10 14:03 GMT+08:00