President Trump has granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, the former press baron and onetime society fixture who was found guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice in 2007.
Mr. Black, who was born in Canada and is also know as Lord Black of Crossharbour, was charged with swindling his company, Hollinger International, of $60 million. He was sentenced to a prison term of six and half years but was released after serving just over two years. After a federal judge ruled that Mr. Black had not served enough time, he returned for about a year.
More than a decade ago, Mr. Black and other former Hollinger executives were accused by U.S. authorities of diverting millions of dollars from the company through non-compete agreements and bonus compensation. Mr. Black was found guilty in 2007 on three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction. Mr. Black has been a vocal defender of the U.S. President. Last year, he published a biography titled, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. I’m sure writing this book helped Mr. Black obtain his pardon. It sure didn’t hurt.
The White House has said that Mr. Black, who once owned The Chicago Sun-Times, The Jerusalem Post and The Daily Telegraph in London has made tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought. Mr. black also received support from Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state, personalities such as Rush Limbaugh and Elton John just to name a few.
If you have been following Conrad Black’s writings for the past couple of years, you would see a trend of writing ultra-positive articles and papers in support of Mr. Trump. Most recently, Mr. Black published an opinion piece in the National Review stating that Mr. Trump was the only serious businessman to hold the office of president. Mr. Black’s article went on to say that Donald Trump would have the strongest argument for reelection next year than any president since Richard Nixon. These two have know each other for a very long time.
Conrad Black has always maintained he was the victim of an unjust U.S. criminal justice system.
The pardon from the highest legal authority in the United States was a “great comfort” he said, but Trump went even further by saying that it was a bad rap and unjust verdict, and Black should never have been charged. One practical impact of the pardon is that Black is now free to travel to the United States, which he called a “great country.” Talk about sucking up to Trump.
This pardon in many ways is the end of a long dark chapter in Conrad Black’s life.
Black’s conviction led to a rare revocation of his Order of Canada in 2014. He said he hadn’t decided whether he would try to regain it. He is still deciding whether he will try and overturn an Ontario Securities Commission ban on corporate involvement.
Conrad Black, who renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 after a well-publicized fight with then prime minister Jean Chretien over accepting a British peerage, remains a permanent resident of Canada.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Black have a relationship that dates back decades, and once included a business partnership in the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago. They were even neighbors back in Florida and occasionally attended each other’s homes and frequented each other’s social parties. Talk about comfort.
Regardless of what l think, the President has that right to give anyone a pardon and the odds in this case were stacked in Mr. Black’s favor. You or l would never be on that list, but power and connections in this case worked to a charm.
Who says connections don’t work?