Media Mogul Conrad Black must remain incarcerated pending his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the High Court has ruled.
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens denied without prejudice Black's application for bail pending appeal of his 2007 conviction for mail fraud and obstruction of justice, for which he was sentenced to 78 months in prison. The Canadian-born, 64-year-old Black is the former chair of media giant Hollinger Intl., Inc., which owns newspapers in Canada, England, Israel and the U.S., including the Chicago Sun-Times (which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in March 2009), The Jerusalem Post, and The Daily Telegraph (London).
The Supreme Court will hear his appeal in November or December 2009 (Black v. U.S., 08-876). The government originally brought a 17-count indictment against Black, alleging that he diverted $80 million plus from Hollinger and its shareholders during the media conglomerate's $2.1 billion sale of hundreds of Canadian newspapers.
The Supreme Court will address the question of whether the "honest services clause" (18 U.S.C. sec. 1346) is applicable to mail & wire fraud cases absent a finding that Black "reasonably contemplated identifiable economic harm." Black's attorneys contend the "honest services clause" is not germane because Hollinger was not at risk of losing money from the transaction.
Before he was confined in March 2008, Black was free on $21 million bail, but restricted in his travel to the Chicago area and his Palm Beach, Fla. home. In applying for bail pending the appeal, his lawyers argued, among other things, that Black did not pose a danger to the community, which suggests that they don't subscribe to the Chicago Sun-Times.