Media mogul Conrad Black on
trial for fraud, jury selection on
26 Feb, 2007
The trial of Conrad Black, former
media tycoon, has begun with the judge
questioning a man who lost money in
the WorldCom debacle, a woman whose
investments went sour and over three
dozen other prospective jurors.
“We lost every dime,” said the woman,
who is one of the prospective jurors
for the trial of Conrad Black,
millionaire and press mogul, charged
with siphoning off $84 million from
the Hollinger International media
United States District Judge Amy J St.
Eve questioned, apart from the man who
lost money in the $3.8-billion
WorldCom scandal, a woman who said on
her pre-trial questionnaire that she
distrusted people who make millions of
After over seven hours of questioning
48 potential jurors, Judge Amy J St
Eve dismissed 13 for assorted reasons.
The judge, a former federal
prosecutor, said she hopes to have a
jury soon, with opening statements in
a few days.
The judge also disclosed that Donald
Trump, real estate magnate, is on the
list of potential government
Conrad Black, 62, is charged with
racketeering and other offences
allegedly committed as chairman of the
Hollinger International newspaper
holding company. He was forced out as
chief executive in 2003 and ousted as
chairman months later amid a plethora
of lawsuits by shareholder and a
Hollinger once owned the Chicago
Sun-Times, the Toronto-based National
Post, The Daily Telegraph of London
and the Jerusalem Post, as well as
hundreds of community newspapers. The
Toronto, London and Jerusalem papers
have been sold, and the company’s name
has been changed to Sun-Times Media
Conrad Black is accused of selling off
hundreds of community newspapers in
the United States and Canada and
pocketing payments from the buyers.
Prosecutors say Hollinger should have
gotten the money paid in return for
promises not to compete in markets
where the newspapers circulated.
Black also is charged with billing the
shareholders for a two-week trip to
the island of Bora Bora and most of a
$62,000 birthday party for his wife.
Three other former executives of
Hollinger also are on trial.
The Canadian-born Conrad Black, author
of an acclaimed biography of Franklin
D Roosevelt, is known for his
outspoken, aristocratic manner which
at times verges on what has been
described as arrogance and pomposity.
He gave up his Canadian citizenship to
become a full-fledged British baron –
Lord Black of Crossharbour – but now
wants his Canadian citizenship back.
Prosecutors estimate that the trial
could take three to four months and
say that, if convicted, Conrad Black
could face as much as 101 years in