Newspaper magnate, British Lord, former Canadian and convicted criminal Conrad Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, reports today to Coleman Federal Prison in Florida to serve his 78 months for mail fraud and obstruction of justice. He wrote a lengthy, self-pitying column to the New York Sun, formerly one of his holdings, to announce that he quite loves American justice, even though he was wrongfully convicted and all that. Amusingly, Black would be serving time in a much nicer Canadian prison if it weren't for the fact that he renounced his citizenship to get that title. But he's not bitter! Not at all! Do these sound like the words of a bitter man?
There was no evidence to support two of the remaining convictions, and the only evidence, from the chief cooperating witness, was exculpatory. For the third count, the evidence was an uncorroborated allegation of a non-incriminating telephone conversation, which did not, in fact, take place.
Ya hear that? The only evidence was the allegation of a phone call that didn't happen and also that would not have even been incriminating if it did happen, which it didn't.
Mr. Black is apparently using his prison time to work on his memoirs, and if this column is any indication, they will be lengthy accounts of how, precisely, he did nothing wrong, in great detail, and also how he is the victim of a byzantine plot by the SEC and rebellious shareholders. BUT HE'S NOT BITTER.
My faith in the United States has inspired me to persevere, despite what I believe has been the prosecution's insufficient respect for the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment guarantees of due process, of the grand jury as an assurance against capricious prosecution, of no seizure of assets without just compensation, of speedy justice, access to counsel, and reasonable bail. I have been besieged by various agencies of the U.S. government for over four years, and I know of only one higher bond in U.S. history than the $38 million I have been posting.
UK "online magazine" The First Post rather gleefully reports on precisely what Lord Black can expect in his new prison life, from the strip search to his "between 12 and 40 cents an hour" new job as a gardener. They even link to Coleman Federal Prison's official inmate handbook, which details the sorts of things you can and cannot do in prison. Here's the no list:
Of course, should Lord Black be caught, say on a grainy security camera, taking hostages or creating hazardous tools, it will be merely a harmless act of innocent fun misconstrued and blown out of proportion by the dastardly Hollinger International Board of Directors' Special Committee, the Canadian government, the FBI, his enemies in the British press, and Sotheby's.