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July 13, 2007

Black Verdict Thread

The jury has concluded deliberations and will announce a verdict in coming minutes. Open thread for discussion and related links.

See also: Conrad Black Trial blog.

Guilty on 4 of 13 counts (corrected):

After 10 days of deliberations, the jury at the fraud trial for Conrad Black has found the former media baron guilty on four of 13 counts in his fraud and racketeering trial, including the serious charge of obstruction of justice.

Black was cleared of the charge of racketeering, but legal expert Paula Todd called the obstruction charge "extraordinary."


Posted by Kate at July 13, 2007 11:09 AM
Comments

as expected

Posted by: murray at July 13, 2007 11:44 AM

Let the appeals begin.

Posted by: rattfuc at July 13, 2007 11:49 AM

The jury has spoken. I can't help thinking Black et al made mistake choosing trial by jury, rather than judge alone. Correct me if I'm wrong, he did have that option, right?

Anyway, looks like he's going to jail, after interminable appeals and forfeiture hearings.

The greed of these guys is truly amazing and now they have been hoisted on their own petard. It's a good day for corporate governance and accountability. I thought the jury did a great job and should be congratulated.

Posted by: Shamrock at July 13, 2007 11:50 AM

Black is getting off light,... well at least
Lord Poo-Poo Pants is heading off to do some well deserved time in the big house

He could be facing 35 years in jail and $1,000,000 in fines. Sweet.

Posted by: Zorpheous at July 13, 2007 11:54 AM

They could have, at least, found the a**h**e guilty of being a pompous ass and an arrogant twit. But, something is better than nothing.

So, now he'll appeal using shareholder's money.

Too bad.

Posted by: Mike in White Rock at July 13, 2007 11:54 AM

Obstruction of justice and 3 counts of mail fraud????

Sounds like the jury just wanted to punish him for being him, (other than the obstruction charge).

Posted by: Andrew at July 13, 2007 12:03 PM

Well, Lewis Libby had his sentence commuted. Why not Conrad?

Posted by: Michael Westcott at July 13, 2007 12:05 PM

So much for the supposed "impasse".

Posted by: mark peters at July 13, 2007 12:05 PM

Conrad would have walked away with a slap on the wrist if he had not stabbed them in the eye with his contempt for the ** Do not remove records order**.

When Black personally removed 13 black file boxes to his vehicle and made jestures towards the video camera he motivated some powerful people to teach him a lesson.

That lesson could be seven to twelve years depending on how appeals go.

Terms of ten years or less would be served in a *Club Med* minimum security detention centre.

Terms of 7 to 10 years would amount to 2 to 4 years served in Canada. I suspect he will serve about 4 years in the USA.

Any expert opinion? = TG

Posted by: TG at July 13, 2007 12:06 PM

Had he been sentenced in Canada, he would be pretty much guaranteed to be paroled after one-sixth of his sentence, being a "non-violent" offender. They're not that generous in the US.

Posted by: Bruce at July 13, 2007 12:09 PM

If Mr. Black did commit fraud on three transactions, why are the board of governors for Hollinger also not on trial? They approved every single transaction. How many members of the board are still sitting on the boards of other companies?

Obstruction of justice I have trouble with. He removed boxes that were returned and of which the government had photocopies of all. No obstruction of justice there, contempt of court most certainly but not the former.

Posted by: northbaytrapper at July 13, 2007 12:11 PM

Another Patrick Fitzgerald legal lynching. And what about Tweedy Brown and the former SEC Chair who shoved Black out of the companies he built, looted them and left the shareholders whose shares Black had massively enriched with nothing?

Black took PERSONAL files from storage and returned them a few days later. "Obstruction of Justice"? Fitzgerald thinks he's "Justice" personified.

Once upon a time I admired the American legal system. After OJ it became apparent to many that there was something deeply wrong and rotten. Recent politcal show trials like Libby and Black confirm it.

Judging from some of the comments here and, especially, on the rabid-dogs comment pages of the Globe and Mal, Black has been convicted for being smar, articulate and successful. How awfully Canadian a response.

Posted by: Patrick B at July 13, 2007 12:18 PM

It's hard to beat the Lynch Mob mentality of that whole Court Proceeding from start to finish.

Looks like Conrad is even worse than OJ Simpson who allegedly killed two people and is wandering their holier than thou country a free man.
It's sickening end to a long and stressful trial and at this time we should feel sympathy for him and his family.

No doubt Chretien will be cheering and all the Librano crowd.

Posted by: Liz J at July 13, 2007 12:21 PM

Andrew, the charges are mail fraud because the matter is in Federal court, which requires an interstate aspect. The prosecution has to prove both fraud and the inter-state aspect. Mail fraud is thus essentially the same thing as fraud.

The obstruction conviction is the most serious. No one but Black knows what the boxes contained before he returned them. His "personal" papers included "musings" in which he laid out his plans for each season. How many musings went missing this way? Don't know, because justice was obstructed.

Posted by: murray at July 13, 2007 12:24 PM

TG,

Agree that removing the records was a huge mistake by Black.

Also, I am not an expert, but read in the Post that Black is not eligible to serve time in a "Club Fed" facility because he is not an American. He therefore is destined for a standard U.S. federal prison. Which are apparently rough but not as bad as state prisons.

Also serving time in Canada is not an option because Black is not a Canadian.

Posted by: Bart F. at July 13, 2007 12:26 PM

Patrick B you said it perfectly. Well done.

Posted by: TJ at July 13, 2007 12:29 PM

A black Friday the 13th for Conrad Black et al.

The biggest charge is the obstruction of justice charge.

The racketeering charge was not guilty which carries major time.

Obviously, the jury took a rather dim view of the removal of boxes, regardless of whether or not copies were held by other parties.

Radler's and others testimony obviously scuppered most of the other charges.

3 counts of mail fraud doesn't look good.

Of course all of these charges stem from the heady Enron, Worldcom, Adelphia environment. The shot across the bow is that shoddy corporate governance is not to be tolerated.

It will be interesting to see the appeals/sentencing process going forward.

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at July 13, 2007 12:36 PM

I am sure it won't happen, but those convicted including Black should sue the "Audit committee" including a former US governor whom "skimmed over" and approved the
Non-compete clause payments.

Jury of his peers?

Not according to most news accounts.

Friday the thirteenth was rubbing salt into wealthy peoples wounds.


Posted by: Joe Molnar at July 13, 2007 12:43 PM

Four of 13 charges? I don't think the prosecution did as well as some would seem to think.

Black, reportedly, has applied to become a Canadian again. Whether he is able to while convicted of a felony is questionable. I think it would need to be a political move, which I suspect is unlikely.

Initially, I believed Mr Black was being railroaded - non-compete clauses are very common. But it looks like Black and the others changed the deal after it was done, took the money out of the payment to Hollinger, and that the buyers never intended to ask for a non-compete from these gentlemen. Indeed, some of them testified they had never even heard of some of the defendents.

If true - Mr Black is a thief, and deserves to pay the price.

Posted by: Jimbo at July 13, 2007 12:50 PM

Steyn has good commentary here:

http://forums.macleans.ca/advansis/?mod=for&act=dis&eid=52

Posted by: Blazingcatfur at July 13, 2007 12:51 PM

A short paragraph from the National Post sums it up nicely

"Legal observers repeatedly said that it was unlikely the four co-defendants would be acquitted, in part because they faced so many charges and the success rate of prosecutors in Chicago federal court is 95%."

So the prosecutions strategy was to throw as much shit at the wall as possible knowing that in chicago, 5 % is going to stick.

I do not understand how the jury could find Black guilty on the removal of boxes unless it can be demonstratably proved that there were relevant documents in them that were removed - and they can't.

Funny how Patrick Fitzgerald seems to be so concerned about the removal of documents in another country in what should be a corporate governance case, but apparently Sandy Berger can stuff his pants full of documents directly related to US national security and he gets a slap on the wrist.

Posted by: ward at July 13, 2007 12:54 PM

The Audit Committee members are skimming over the verdicts as we speak.

Posted by: Richard Ball at July 13, 2007 12:54 PM

Ward said "I do not understand how the jury could find Black guilty on the removal of boxes unless it can be demonstratably proved that there were relevant documents in them that were removed - and they can't."

I couldn't agree more. Was there some kind of court order in place instructing him not to move anything?

Posted by: Jimbo at July 13, 2007 12:58 PM

Well, IMO, if a court said not to remove the boxes, and he removed the boxes, it's irrelevant as to whether the government had copies of the documents inside, or whether the documents inside were even relevant to the case. The court said don't remove them, so removing them is in contempt of a court order. Big mistake on his part.

Have to agree wholeheartedly with ward's last sentence, though.

Posted by: Eugene at July 13, 2007 1:02 PM

Boo-f*cking-hoo. Rich a**hole gets his comeuppance. Nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Posted by: anon at July 13, 2007 1:06 PM

"legal expert Paula Todd" ? ROTFLMAO!!!

Posted by: Skip at July 13, 2007 1:11 PM

Jombo,

"I couldn't agree more. Was there some kind of court order in place instructing him not to move anything?"

uummm, Yes. And Black ignored it.

Posted by: Zorpheous at July 13, 2007 1:12 PM

This disgusting event is a sad sign of the times. No crime was properly articulated let alone committed - simply Federal Government bullying using a class warfare show trial to bolster political ambitions. If Black is guilty then so are every board of directors of every corporation in the free world. Corporate excess can make for pretty subjective hate crimes. If some shareholders won't look out for their own investments and discipline their boards of directors then you sure as hell don't want Uncle Sam paying ambitious trial Lawyers to do it by criminalizing activities of corporate management.

The leviathan state just got bigger!

Posted by: John Chittick at July 13, 2007 1:13 PM

Zorpheous said "Yes (court order in place instructing him not to move anything). And Black ignored it."

Then he's guilty.

Posted by: Jimbo at July 13, 2007 1:22 PM

RE the removal of documents. It was pointed out in the trail that Conrad had not yet received the orders not to remove the boxes. When he was advised that there was a court order telling him not to remove the boxes, he returned them.

Steyn also has a good take on the flimsiness of this charge:

Yes, there was an in-house "document retention policy" that Conrad was clearly flipping the finger at, and yes, there was a court order by a judge in Toronto, though the Ontario Superior Court has declined to take any action in respect of Lord Black's apparent breach. But in her instructions to the jury Judge Amy was explicit that, under US law, "obstruction of justice" means you have to obstruct an "official proceeding" - ie, not Bloggs Security's guidelines and procedures. Furthermore, it has to be an "official proceeding" in the United States - an Ontario court order isn't going to cut it. Patrick Fitzgerald can't prosecute obstruction of Canadian justice.

This was the most shameless jurisdictional overreach by a government which banged on incessantly about a Toronto judge's order as if the Northern District of Illinois had annexed Ontario. It hasn't. And, without that Superior Court order, there's no there there. Conrad Black should be acquitted of obstruction.

Posted by: ward at July 13, 2007 1:25 PM

Always comical to see the class envy of losers who think that getting rich or being rich deserves some form of punishment.
Your punishment losers is to be what your are FOREVER.

As for Black I Always felt that the Directors of Hollinger should be the ones in the hot seat!
Blacks behaviour was outlandish but not necessarily illegal. Moot point point now though as he's become another notch on the gunbelt of Patrick Fitzgerald.

One thing about the mailfraud charges that bugs me is that, the intent of those laws is to protect people and the US treasury form fraudulent communications by post. The way I see it nobody was defrauded through any form of communications except that some people who should have known better did not read the fine print on certain agreements.

Is the mail fraud charge just a legal catchall used to bludgeon targets of ambitious prosecutors?

On the Obstruction charge - What jurisdiction does a US court have over actions on Canadian turf?

It may be hard to have sympathy for the arrogant C.Black and his buds ... but I think the criminal prosecution was wrong.

The shareholders money he abused should have been dealt with through civil means.

But of course that would not have provided the showcase for Fitzgerald and the media!

Posted by: OMMAG at July 13, 2007 1:42 PM

If the guy did 1/2 of what he is accused of in China, we would be reading Tuesday that he was executed on Monday. End of story.

Posted by: Orlin at July 13, 2007 2:11 PM

Steyn raises some interesting points on his Macleans blog re obstruction of justice.

http://forums.macleans.ca/advansis/?mod=for&act=dip&pid=60906&tid=60906&eid=52&so=1&ps=30&sb=1


"So to convict on this charge you have to find that Black was seeking to obstruct at least one of three proceedings: a) the SEC investigation; b) the grand jury's criminal investigation; c) or any forthcoming case before the US District Court in Chicago (the US Attorney's investigation alone does not qualify as an "official proceeding").

Was Conrad seeking to obstruct the SEC investigation? I don't think a reasonable person could conclude so. Every document in the boxes the SEC already had. Could he have been seeking to obstruct a criminal case that had not yet begun? In theory, possible. But that's not exactly a ringing proof of criminal intent - and furthermore he has what most of us would regard as an entirely plausible explanation: He'd been served with an eviction order from his Toronto office so he had to get his stuff out anyway."

..."Still, here's the thing: For this charge to stick, all 12 jurors have to agree Black was seeking to obstruct the same "proceeding". It's not enough for five jurors to think he was obstructing the SEC investigation and another seven to think he was obstructing a forthcoming criminal trial. That makes it a slightly trickier proposition. Around the court, you'll hear folks say that, if Black walks on the non-competes, convicting him on obstruction is an easy way for the jury to demonstrate how sophisticated they are. Other legal experts tell me a basic equity issue comes into play: if he's found not guilty on the non-competes, you can't expose him to 20 years in jail for "obstructing" a proceeding in which there's no underlying crime. Yes, that's more or less what happened to Scooter Libby and Martha Stewart, but in both cases each was specifically prosecuted for the peripheral offence alone.

That sounds right to me. This was the most shameless jurisdictional overreach by a government which banged on incessantly about a Toronto judge's order as if the Northern District of Illinois had annexed Ontario. It hasn't. And, without that Superior Court order, there's no there there. Conrad Black should be acquitted of obstruction."

So if Steyn is correct in his apprehension of the facts, Conrad Black may have some legs on which to appeal the obstruction charge.

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at July 13, 2007 2:16 PM

"legal expert Paula Todd" sounds very much like "legal expert Nancy Grace."

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at July 13, 2007 2:17 PM

Good post OMMAG. Let's hope that A**hole Fitzgerald, Lynch Mob leader gets his day.

This cant's be it, that's all she wrote for Conrad Black. Someone from our higher echelons of power will surly not stay silent on this one.

It's sickening that we have people who are cheering this outcome, shows what's out there and the attitudes toward those who do well or who, like Black, were born to wealth.

He was tried in the worst possible venue by a Jury not of his peers. I'd venture the Jurors couldn't understand half what went down in that case.

Here we have a Canadian born Icon whose life has just about ended if he gets the prison term the prosecutors are lusting after and people are cheering.

Don't know about anyone else but I feel totally sickened.

Posted by: Liz J at July 13, 2007 2:17 PM

It seems that to the agressive prosecuter in the states, attempting a defence is obstruction of justice.

Posted by: Wimpy Canadian at July 13, 2007 2:47 PM

In the USA "obstruction of justice" is a codeword for "did not immediately confess to all crimes".

It seems to be fairly easy to whip up a jury nowadays into a frenzy of envy and suspicion. I figured that out the day I heard one of the Martha Stewart jurors explain that it was a "victory for little people".

Not that I like what Black did, but this is between Black and his shareholders and not something into which a crusading demagogue should stick his nose.

If government defines in great detail the way companies should be run, what compensation is just and fair, what profits are fair, what accounting systems should be used, how records should be kept, and so on, then what you have is a fascist state. The descent into tyranny is of course accompanied by loud cheering and clapping from the peanut gallery. The people don't just tolerate their enslavement but they actually demand it, one pathetic victim at a time.

Posted by: Ugh at July 13, 2007 2:49 PM

Boy, some of guys make it sound like Lord Black didn't have any sort of Defence Lawyers or that they failed to make any sort of arguements. Maybe you guys should run over to Lord Black's Lawyers and explain it to them how they screwed up defending him.

Posted by: Zorpheous at July 13, 2007 3:06 PM

Why all the indignation here? People get convicted of things all the time, rightly or wrongly, and almost none of them have Black's resources to mount a successful appeal. I feel more sympathy for the people who do the real hard time for violent crimes they didn't commit, or the kid who gets ten years for walking a paper bag across the street. Black won't see a day of prison for several years, if at all. And if he's anything like Martha Stewart, his net worth will actually go up.

Posted by: Cooler Head at July 13, 2007 3:13 PM

Now that this thing is over, I can finally uncork my own opinions. Here's the first one: if one of the goals of the United States Justice Department was to put us little Canadians in the right frame of mind for the upcoming Arctic sovereignty dispute, they've done a rather fine job through effectively extending the Northern District of Illinois's purview into a foreign jurisdiction - with, of course, the assistance of the jury.

It says loads about the Americans, the North-West Passage, and what the Government of Canada should be doing by 2008 with respect to the above two.

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at July 13, 2007 3:18 PM

One more comment: I would like to publicly thank Kate for linking to my own blog in SDA. Not only did she do so at the top of this thread, but also in mid-March when the trial was just beginning.


Thanks, Kate.

- Daniel M. Ryan

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at July 13, 2007 3:20 PM

"Don't know about anyone else but I feel totally sickened.
Posted by: Liz J at July 13, 2007 2:17 PM"

I'm right with you on that sentiment, Liz J; sickened by the whole procedure and sickened by the peanut gallery here and elsewhere cheering it on. I think Black will appeal and he has a good chance of winning on appeal.

Posted by: felis corpulentis at July 13, 2007 3:24 PM

Mississauga Matt:

"legal expert Paula Todd" sounds very much like "legal expert Nancy Grace."

Notwithstanding I find Nancy Grace impossible to watch, she was a district attorney in Georgia.

"Grace worked for nearly a decade in the Atlanta-Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney's office as Special Prosecutor. Her work focused on felony cases involving serial murder, serial rape, serial child molestation and arson.[9] While Grace won nearly 100 felony cases at trial without any losses,[9], some convictions were later overturned on appeal."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Grace

Posted by: John B at July 13, 2007 3:51 PM

BTW, Lord Black had been evicted from the office building from where he removed the boxes. So was he supposed to leave it all for the next tenant?

And I wish you were right, Mr. Ryan, but the only time that Canada's left, MSM etc. get pissed off at Americans is if a liberal ox is being gored. Do you think the Red Star and the Glib and Pale are going to give a shit about Lord Black being charged and convicted by the U.S. for something he did in Canada? They'd only get worried if it were a Canadian jihadist being so charged and convicted.

Posted by: andycanuck at July 13, 2007 3:53 PM

Re the charge of obstruction from a CBC report:

"The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had also sent Black's legal team a letter indicating that the SEC was interested in Hollinger documents for an investigation.

The lawyers had received the letter the day before Black had moved the documents. But those lawyers testified Thursday that they never told Black about the SEC letter. Black's secretary, Joan Maida, also said she knew nothing about any SEC probe."

So it is testified to in court, by lawyers, that Black was not aware of any orders to not remove the boxes.

How is justice obstructed? And how can the jury convict given the above?

Posted by: ward at July 13, 2007 3:58 PM

Remember folks, they had a bunch of trumped up charges against Martha Stewart and in the end all they could muster was "she lied'.

They're such goddamned puritans in the US of A Justice system, thou shall not tell a lie yet the prosecution in the Black case made all kinds of fabrications, called charges, turned out to be false. Not enough were false in the eyes of the jury who probably really have no clue about the complications of all these charges, how could they?

It's a poor way to try a person,when the stakes are so high. Jury trials should not be used in such complicated cases as this one, ordinary people do not understand such business and it has international scope as well.
Let's hope the judge has a few scruples. There should be an appeal process for a man whose life will be over if he's given full brunt of the US law.
If not I for one will ditto the Carolyn Parrish infamous comment, though directed only at the US Justice system, it's an ass.

Posted by: Liz J at July 13, 2007 4:02 PM

andycanuck,

It cuts both ways. Do you really think that there would be this level of indignation on the comment board here if Black had been a lefty mogul and all of the pertinent facts around the case were identical? It would have been "Hang him high!"

Posted by: Cooler Head at July 13, 2007 4:02 PM

Claiming ignorance of a court order is not and never has been a defense. Also those statements as called self-serving.

Posted by: Zorpheous at July 13, 2007 4:05 PM

Daniel M. Ryan: Your paranoia may need treatment.

Mark
Ottawa

Posted by: Mark Collins at July 13, 2007 4:09 PM

I think the gloating comments on this thread are basic socialist Canadian envy and rejection of wealth. Socialist Canadians reject the results of hard work, entrepreneurship and 'smarts' - all shown by Black; they prefer gov't handouts.

I'm not familiar enough with the trial or evidence, but I suspect Chretien's gang behind it. Chretien, a total narcissist, is an arch enemy of Black and is, himself, a master thief of the Canadian taxpayer, and businesses. His connections, his vindictiveness - I suspect Chretien's hand in this whole affair.

Hopefully, Black will win on appeal. But, how do we, the Canadian taxpayer, get our money back from Chretien? There's no court that would help us with that!

Posted by: ET at July 13, 2007 4:25 PM

Zorpheous is plainly wrong. No court order is binding until notice of it is given.

Posted by: ebt at July 13, 2007 4:26 PM

According to Mark Steyn, Fitzgerald et al hammered endlessly about the violated Canadian court order. Black was unaware of the SEC order.

If this is true then it is apparent that Fitzgerald convinced the jury that they can ajudicate obstruction of justice offenses that occur in other countries. The MSM never, ever seems to mention or comment on Fitzgerald's international reach.

The trial court judge will be aware of this and appeal judges will not be so trusting as the jurors. Predict that Black will be released on bail pending an appeal and that the obstruction charge will be reversed.

The fat lady is not even close to singing.

Posted by: Bart F. at July 13, 2007 4:33 PM

"Good post OMMAG. Let's hope that A**hole Fitzgerald, Lynch Mob leader gets his day."

Given the involvement of the SEC, would we refer to it as a "Merril Lynch mob"?

Posted by: Jethro at July 13, 2007 4:42 PM

Whatever happened to the Conservative tough-on-crime stance? Black is no longer an alleged criminal; he is a convicted criminal.

Oh, I forgot, that is only for those people you consider to be low-lifes.

Posted by: MJB at July 13, 2007 4:52 PM

ET said:

"Hopefully, Black will win on appeal. But, how do we, the Canadian taxpayer, get our money back from Chretien? There's no court that would help us with that!"


It's like Enron investors trying to sue the shell that is left when it is bereft of assets. A moot point.

Recall the hounding that Francois Beaudoin took from the RCMP at behest of govt. prompting.

ET it is taxpayers that through hard work contribute to Her Majesty's Treasury. Ergo this is equivalent to attempting to sue yourself. This would be a tautologous exercise. This is why the Adscam scandal was so egregious, even if one proves one's point there is no effective redress except at the ballot box.

The last election provided some measure of "justice".

Conrad Black however may have some legs in the event that he was not apprised of the court's order. How does one form criminal intent, when one is unaware of the order in question as ward has suggested.

As Eddie Greenspan suggested $90 million of the alleged frauds has been ground down to $2.8 million pending appeal.

Thus Hollinger shareholders, if this sticks, would recover a total of $2.8 million which may be pennies per share in the grand scheme of things.

The lesson for voters and shareholders alike is to make sure one is vocal and give things greater scrutiny.

Posted by: Hans Rupprecht at July 13, 2007 5:22 PM

What goes around - comes around.

When this crook, Black, rejected his Canadian citizenship and walked away from this great country to fulfill his own self centred - self interest, he set the stage for what is happening to him now.

At the last minute, when the trial seemed inevitable, he labelled himself a 'freedom fighter' and said he wanted his Canadian citizenship back.

As badly as nutbars like Ezra Levant and most of the supporters of Stephen Harper WANT Black to get his citizenship back, it is too late, and I hope he rots in a federal US penitenary while Barbra Amiel spends whats left of the fortune buying shoes and .... keeping herself amused.

Good riddance to bad seed!

Posted by: leftdog at July 13, 2007 5:27 PM

Let's see - "The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had also sent Black's legal team a letter indicating that the SEC was interested in Hollinger documents for an investigation.

The lawyers had received the letter the day before Black had moved the documents. But those lawyers testified Thursday that they never told Black about the SEC letter."

His lawyers get the letter. The next day, Black removes the boxes. His lawyers say they never told him anything. Right.

I don't believe it. Quite a coincidence that he moved the boxes the next day. And the lawyers expect us to belive they never mentioned something as important as the letter. Sorry folks, too much of a stretch for me.

Unlike some others, I was cheering for Conrad Black, and hoping he was innocent. It doesn't look that way to me, regardless of how I feel about Lord Black or Fitzgerald.

Posted by: Jimbo at July 13, 2007 5:28 PM

Can you imagine the headlines in Canada's MSM if Omar Khadr is ever convicted of killing a US Medic. Successful businessmen are expendable Muslim terrorists are not.

Posted by: Alex in Winnipeg at July 13, 2007 5:36 PM

Oh and by the way for all of you 'Black' lovers out there .... you are REALLY supporting our Canadian troops aren't you when you support this scum who LEGALLY rejected his Canadian citizenship and walked away from this country. The country that our troops love so much.

It is time for you Conrad Black supporters to start supporting our troops and express the utter contempt that he so richly deserves!

Posted by: leftdog at July 13, 2007 5:40 PM

Leftdog, please explain what the f**k Black trial has to do with our troops? Give it a rest.

Posted by: Shamrock at July 13, 2007 5:44 PM

Since when, leftdog, did you start caring about the troops anyway?

Posted by: Eugene at July 13, 2007 5:50 PM

"When this crook, Black, rejected his Canadian citizenship and walked away from this great country to fulfill his own self centred - self interest, he set the stage for what is happening to him now."

I guess you don't recall your hero, Chretien's interference with Black's peerage in the House of Lord's by referring to the Nickel Resolution of 1919. So, who's self centred, self interest was being served. Black's criticism of the the liberal (and Liberal) elite in Canada through the National Post is what brought that on. Incidentally, all you lefties were crying about to much media ownership by a conservative at the time, but I don't here any crying now over the leftwing ownership of Canadian media. Of course, to the left, Liberals are "Centrist".

Posted by: Sleepy Beagle at July 13, 2007 5:58 PM

When Black rejected his Canadian citizenship, he rejected:
-Canada
-Canadians
-Canadian Troops

Stop being so illogical.

Posted by: leftdog at July 13, 2007 5:58 PM

Jimbo,

His lawyers get the letter. The next day, Black removes the boxes. His lawyers say they never told him anything. Right.

Black's lawyers would perjure themselves to try to protect him? An act, that if they were outed on, could see them becoming Black's cellmates.

That would be taking service to whole new level.

Posted by: Bart F. at July 13, 2007 6:03 PM

Leftdog, you own the rights to illogical. I guess he rejected Dairy Queen too.

Again, what does any of have to do with trial? You're the one rejecting our troops, not Black. Give your lefty head a shake.

Discuss the case, not Black's citizenship or our troops.

Posted by: Shamrock at July 13, 2007 6:07 PM

"So if Steyn is correct in his apprehension of the facts, Conrad Black may have some legs on which to appeal the obstruction charge."

In other words, Black hasn't got a hope in hell. Not one thing that Steyn said about Iraq turned out to be true.

Posted by: anon at July 13, 2007 6:08 PM

Posted by: Cooler Head at July 13, 2007 4:02 PM
Maybe so, Cooler, a valid point. We'll just have to see if a lefty moghul ever gets charged and convicted of anything in Canada or abroad for something that was signed-off on by two accounting firms and the oustide board of directors.

tough-on-crime stance? Black is no longer an alleged criminal; he is a convicted criminal.
Posted by: MJB at July 13, 2007 4:52 PM

Then shouldn't you be arguing for his immediate release, MJB, as I'm sure you desire for all victims of the "man"? (Especially in those fascist, death-penalty, U.S. courts.)

Posted by: andycanuck at July 13, 2007 6:32 PM

Bart said "Black's lawyers would perjure themselves to try to protect him? An act, that if they were outed on, could see them becoming Black's cellmates."

I considered that. Then I remembered - they're lawyers. They have their ways of getting around the truth without actually lying, in my experience. Who's going to "out" them anyway? Black? I don't think so.

It just doesn't pass the smell test for me. This was important stuff. When were they planning on telling him? Maybe someone else told him?

There's just too much of a coincidence for me to believe the day after his lawyers receive the letter, he just arbitrarily decides to defy a court order and remove a bunch of boxes possibly containing documents pertinent to this case.

People lie all of the time, for a lot less than $60 million (or so). Even lawyers.

Posted by: Jimbo at July 13, 2007 6:32 PM

leftdog- you are the one who is being illogical; you are committing a logical fallacy - of 'begging the question by assuming every instance of a generalization'.

Because Black rejected Canadian citizenship does not mean, logically, that he rejected every factual instance of 'being Canadian'. And by the way, being a Canadian citizen has nothing to do with accepting or not accepting other Canadians or the military.

But - Did he reject the parliamentary system, the Canadian dollar, maple syrup, hockey, cold winters and so on?

my, my, anon - that's certainly a well-grounded argument! Because Steyn was wrong on some, not all, aspects of Iraq, then, you claim that he'll be wrong about Black. Love your (il)logic.

Posted by: ET at July 13, 2007 6:37 PM

Well I must say that I'm a little surprised by some of the comments here, but hey...its still a free country and everyone is entitled to express his/her opinion.

As an active investor, I have for years been fed up with CEOs and other executives of publicly-traded companies being rewarded with enormous salaries and stock options with MY money.

In my opinion, Conrad Black deserves what he gets. He clearly treated Hollinger as a personal piggy bank (IMO) and diverted what should have been shareholders' funds to line his own pockets. I personally don't care what about his lifestyle or whast he does with his money...as long as its HIS money...

Posted by: Bruce at July 13, 2007 6:51 PM

Here's some logic for leftdog. Black started The National Post. Of our national media, the National Post is easily the most supportive of our troops. The conclusion is obvious.
BTW, Steyn is a genius. And funny, too.

Posted by: dean spencer - fox at July 13, 2007 6:53 PM

John B,

Yes I know Nancy Grace is a former lawyer - so is Paula Todd.

There's a reason why they're both no longer in that field.

Posted by: Mississauga Matt at July 13, 2007 6:56 PM

Re: the "obstruction of justice" "guilty" verdict, um, did anyone at all actually see what was in the boxes on surveillance tape?

If the Court couldn't demonstrate that there was any corporate "records" in them, rather than simply Lord Black's personal effects, as he indicated they contained, then the jury erred in its "guilty" verdict on that count, for there's reasonable doubt that the boxes may well not have contained anything they shouldn't.

Nothing was proven there. Last time I checked, it was NOT a crime to move boxes from anyplace to anyplace.

Besides, what about that Liberal MP who removed sensitive document-containing boxes from an office in Parliament? We know that the boxes contained documents he had no business messing around with, and he actually said he read them! He (so far as I know; there's no official criminal charges I've heard of yet) gets away with this, but Lord Black gets up to twenty years for simply moving some boxes around? Hell, he even returned the boxes themselves, once their contents were removed! Sheesh! He wouldn't even steal boxes! And what of Sandy Berger? He got off a lot easier for stealing classified national security documents!

I think this whole thing is a witch hunt against Lord Black because he's conservative, not leftist. See how harshly he's being treated without any evidence against him, and compare it to the likes of the nosey Liberal MP and Berger.

Hell, why not? Here I go and declare it: It's a vast, left-wing conspiracy against Conrad Black just because he's not a liberal and because he dared to fight liberals with his own media! Smells like revenge to me.

The other counts: Can't say for sure about those specifc ones, but as long as I followed the trial, never did I once see or hear of anything that I could consider as "proof" of "fraud".

Wonder if anyone powerful/wealthy somehow "got to" the jury members? Was the jury somehow motivated to punish, no matter what?

And the Judge, she seemed to goad the jury on, urging them to keep trying and so on...

I guess the state apparatus considers being a successful, conservative media tycoon a crime, then...

Posted by: The Canadian Sentinel at July 13, 2007 7:17 PM

So Conrad's lawyers didn't tell him about the court order, eh? So why didn't the defense present this at trial? Answer, because the lawyers would have to take the stand and testify to this, and this would wave the client attorney privlidge (in for a penny, in for a pound). If they had testified the DA could have supeniad the law office phone records and emails for that day right up to the time Conrad entered the office to retrieve the records. N lawyer in the world would do this. Next, Conrad could have testified to this at trial, but choose not to take the stand and you can't cry do over because you waved the right.

Next _onrad had the very best legal representation money could buy, so forget any cries of poor representation.

That obstruction charge is going to stick. Don't worry Convict Conrad fans, his lawyers will keep him out for years to come.

Posted by: Zorpheous at July 13, 2007 7:21 PM

Given such low standards of proof, then why isn't the entire former Liberal government in jail?

We've got much more evidence on these crooks than the liberal prosecution has on Lord Black!

We KNOW the Liberals cheated us. How come they get off? Simply going after LaFleur isn't enough. Those who facilitated his frauds in any way, shape, or form, no matter how high-up, ought to be tried. And convicted based on the same standard of proof used against Lord Black. Unless this happens, then what Black got isn't justice. Unless liberals are treated as badly as conservatives, there'll never be justice.

Justice is NOT seen as having been done. I see the American judicial system as having been abused, hijacked, exploited by the left for its own petty purposes.

I seriously doubt that Lord Black did anything illegal at all. I see no reason, from the evidence given in court, to think he did anything wrong at all.

Posted by: The Canadian Sentinel at July 13, 2007 7:26 PM

Now we have:

- a women convicted and sent to jail because she answered a question no incoreectly with regards to a stock sale
- a man convicted of charges relating to the non-outing of a CIA officer by another government official
- a media baron(literally) convicted because he used a foreign county's mail service to mail documents relating to activities that while illegal in the US are legal in his home country and removed documents he was unaware (so the evidence shows, speculation aside) were under court order.Mr. Fitzgerald should be proud.

We should all be very concerned about his overeaching activities and as Canadians hope they never cross our border.

I am sad for Mr. Black. I like his books and his elan. I cannot imagine any person who is serious about protecting the rights of the individual from the tyrrany of overzealous prosecutors would be happy. And I hope none of you ever get caught in one of Mr. Fitzgerald's snares. I don't care if you are right, left or whatever.

I think I will go out and buy his latest book and gain some solace knowing two things: Mr. Black will fight this thing head on as he has from the outset, so it is not over and if he does end up in the hoosegow as so many of you hope, he will spend his time writing some more books.

Whatever happens to him he has contributed a great deal to our country in positive ways and will continue to do so.

Chin up Tubby!

Posted by: wnc at July 13, 2007 7:27 PM

So Lord Black goes to move out his own gear with a limo and uniformed chaufer, because of an eviction notice and all he takes are 13 cartons pertanant to an investigation.

Where's his chair, lamp and pictures, where's his humidoor and electric shoe buffer.
Do you think Conrad Black moves his own stuff,... in a limo, no less?

The share holders were screwed over for years, any profit the company showed was skimmed off.
That profit was the shareholders, not Blacks or Radlers.

The shareholders (owners of the company) got justice, but it took an American court to do it.

The US has prosecutors like Fitzgerald and we get stuck with useless company men like Gomery.
The US has wheels that turn, people that break the law go to jail, we're missing hundreds of millions, our priminister admits that his party took it, and the statute of limitations ticks on....

Pity Canada.

Posted by: richfisher at July 13, 2007 7:30 PM

Zorpheus:

Read more fully before you go off (middle of below paragraph). The lawyers did testify in court that they had not yet informed Black. That is why some are quite troubled by his conviction. There is so much that stands out in this case that exhonerates Black of what the prosecution accused him of that the jury seems to have ignored.


"The lawyers had received the letter the day before Black had moved the documents. But those lawyers testified Thursday that they never told Black about the SEC letter. Black's secretary, Joan Maida, also said she knew nothing about any SEC probe."

Posted by: ward at July 13, 2007 7:41 PM

Hi Bruce, thanks for the polite observations even if we disagree. And I hope you don't own U.S. H&R Block stock as billionaire Richard Breeden is back at work:

"While H&R Block is widely known for its market-leading tax preparation services, its efforts to diversify into activities including subprime mortgage lending, securities brokerage and banking have resulted in substantial lost shareholder value," said Richard Breeden in the SEC filing.

"H&R Block's stock has significantly underperformed the S&P 500 index for the five years ended June 15, 2007," he added. "As shareholders, we believe that five years is long enough to wait for H&R Block to achieve attractive returns for shareholders. This board needs fresh perspectives and new energy, which we intend to supply, to tackle the company's problems."

http://tinyurl.com/3ytc76

(Via a commenter at JustOneMinute blog that's been covering the Libby trial very well.)

Posted by: andycanuck at July 13, 2007 7:54 PM

great it was present in court and the jury didn,t buy it

Posted by: zorpheous at July 13, 2007 7:56 PM

Mark Steyn has access to Conrad Black.
I suspect Mark will not waste too much time before a book chronicling the Hollinger-Black saga is underway.

On another issue, seeing Peter C.Newman on TV gloating over Black's conviction for me is barf territory.
I know of both Black and Newman only through media, if circumstances would ever exist for me (which they of course won't), I would sooner have Black standing behind my back than Newman.

My hope is Black and the others can successfully appeal.

Posted by: Joe Molnar at July 13, 2007 8:40 PM

Ward said; "But those lawyers testified Thursday that they never told Black about the SEC letter."

Which Thursday? Please give us a date.

Posted by: MJB at July 13, 2007 10:15 PM

MJB: The reference can be found in this CBC article (among other places) from Thursday May 31

http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/05/31/blacktrialmay31.html


"The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had also sent Black's legal team a letter indicating that the SEC was interested in Hollinger documents for an investigation.

The lawyers had received the letter the day before Black had moved the documents. But those lawyers testified Thursday that they never told Black about the SEC letter. Black's secretary, Joan Maida, also said she knew nothing about any SEC probe."

Posted by: ward at July 13, 2007 10:42 PM

Like I said, (months ago): if Conrad Black had restricted his activities to Canada, he never would have been charged in the first place. (White collar crime does not exist in Canada).
At least- he probably paid his own legal bills, (instead of expecting the taxpayers to do it).

Posted by: sheik yerbootie at July 14, 2007 12:13 AM

It's a bit of stretch to think that Black's lawyers would perjure themselves to protect him.

But, as Jimbo above and others point out, if Blacks lawyers got a letter from the SEC requesting documents it is a bit implausible that they wouldn't tell him right away. And then the very next day he removes the documents.

One side of the brain admires Black for his stoic attitude, his founding of NP, and his obvious intelligence. The other side realizes that the U.S. justice system is sound and it is not going to produce a complete put-up job as some people, even some I generally like such as Jonas and Steyn, have suggested.

Not to disrepect juries, but the appeals court judges are going to be much more immune to manipulation by Fitzgerald or Greenspan. And their decisions on the 4 convictions are going to carry a lot of weight.

Posted by: Bart F. at July 14, 2007 12:44 AM

Am I missing something here? Black is guilty of mail fraud for using FedEx to distribute payments for contractually agreed upon payments. The jury did not consider the deals nor the non-compete sums illegal yet found that FedExing the payments a fraudulent use of the US Mail service? The removal of documents from his vacated office in Toronto is also curious as I do not believe he was under any legal order not to do so, but even so there is a jurisdictional problem, can the US authorities compel activities in Canada?

Posted by: Michael Page at July 14, 2007 12:45 AM

The issue was nowhere to be found on American talk radio...

Posted by: Knight of Good Mr. Iron Man at July 14, 2007 1:15 AM

Bernie Ebbers got a raw deal, too. Same thing -- the prosecution made the plea bargain offer to the real crook, the corrupt number two man and were able to get the famous guy with the media profile. All the better for their political careers.

No, for corporate crime, Canada has a better justice system.

For murder, I like Texas'.

And for the lefties trolling this blog, your comments are telling. Like all lefties, you suffer from jealousy -- it drives your politics. Anytime you see success, especially monetary, it makes you angry. What bitter, little people you are -- and not because of whatever wealth you may or may not have.

Posted by: Peter Jay at July 14, 2007 1:36 AM

I'm not going to judge C. Black. I simply point the need for strict corporate governance rules bing in place and followed. If anyone puts money into a publicly traded company that money is to be used to make the company more successful and earn money for the investor. It is not to be used by the executive as a person source of money. If C. Black worked to undermine that trust then I hope that the legal system will deal with it appropriately. Without that strict governance much of our economy disappears and I for one would hate to see that happen.

Posted by: Joe at July 14, 2007 1:53 AM

Most of charges ended with not-guilty verdicts. Four stick, for now.

This includes three mail fraud charges but these make much less sense minus the unanimous not-guilty verdict on the racketeering charge. Of the defendants, only Black faced that charge. Due to the series of contradictions, Black will win on appeal.

The prospect of forfeitures is now finished, anyway.

What's left?

A trumped up allegation of obstructing justice.

The guilty verdict was most likely the product of a complicated (and flimsy) case before a fractious jury of 12 -- they were relieved to find *something* to simplify (and did so based on the oversimplified story that accompanied the video evidence). The SEC and prosecutors had copies of all the contents of the boxes. The obvious question of jurisdiction. The lack of an underlying crime. And so forth.

On appeal, Black will win on this as well.

So what is *really* left is the tanking of Black's good repute and his paying huge legal fees in his defence.

Posted by: Where's The Beef? at July 14, 2007 2:20 AM

Does any of you gentlemen or ladies, have any Grey Poupon?

Posted by: eastern paul at July 14, 2007 2:22 AM

[Juror] Ms. Prince said she also believed Mr. Radler was "covering for his buddy" and trying "to cover for Black" during his weeklong testimony in the four-month trial.
It'll be interesting to see what other gems, like the government's star witness actually working for Lord Black through all of the court case, come out over the following weeks.

Posted by: andycanuck at July 14, 2007 8:27 AM

Michael Page:

That's just it, the colossal lynch mob tactics and arrogance of the US Prosecutors knows no boundary. They believe they can reach a long arm right across the border.

It's up to our Government to give that long arm of prosecuting clowns the chop and a stern warning to boot. Isn't that what they'd do to us?

This case should never have been tried by a Jury and even the Judge should have been more experienced. Too complicated, too much at stake when a man's life would be virtually over at the mercy of the US legal show-boaters out to act tough on white collar crime.

It may well be a place to stay away from, it would be difficult to be pure and perfect in every aspect as they see it.

Innocent people can get put behind bars in such a system and murderers can walk.

Posted by: Liz J at July 14, 2007 8:45 AM

I stated a while back that I thought that Black would be found guilty, he was, and I might add, wrongly so in my opinion. What he was found guilty on now makes me think he will eventually win on appeal. My reasoning is that when it goes to the Appellate Court they deal only in facts and are not influenced by Courtroom antics used to sway a jury.

The only charge that he may be guilty of is obstruction, if indeed it was obstruction, an attempt to hide or conceal evidence in the removal of those boxes.

I have noticed the lowest common denominators in our society are rejoicing at the decision, but that’s expected as a given.



Posted by: Western Canadian at July 14, 2007 9:10 AM

Seeing that the prosecution's case basically fell apart, the judge should rule this way at sentencing:
1 day in jail for each count of guilt and a $250,000 dollar fine each, and let them walk.

Because, you know, after months of trial I still don't CLEARLY see what the crimes were.

And oh, excuse me, but moving boxes around is not a reason to send someone to jail. If prosecutors needs your documents to convict you, it tells you how weak their case is to begin with. So perhaps a fine at most.

Now if disaffected shareholders believed those monies should have been paid to them instead,let them state their case in CIVIL court. That's where money disagreements are always dealt with. And that's exactly where judge Amy should have sent this case right at the beginning.

Posted by: coue at July 14, 2007 10:26 AM

A few thoughts as an overview.
Firstly the conduct of some of the press in hounding Conrad Black and his wife, was absolutely shabby. Faced with the greatest crisis of his life, they tried to cause him to "blow up". They have no soul. I would surmise they live their petty little lives gloating over someone or something.
Next the Canadian telivision and their interviews of "the person in the street". I find that many of the public catch the drift of the interviewer. They then parrot off what the interviewer wants to hear.
Some empathy with the jury here. They had a tough time of it. I think they honestly tried to somehow acquit themselves honourably. I was disapointed with the final outcome however.
As to the case, I have a sneaking feeling that it all belonged in civil court. Wrong country, wrong court.
Conrad Black does not belong in jail. Heavily fined yes.

Posted by: Peter at July 14, 2007 11:21 AM

ET: I think the gloating comments on this thread are basic socialist Canadian envy and rejection of wealth. Socialist Canadians reject the results of hard work, entrepreneurship and 'smarts' - all shown by Black; they prefer gov't handouts."

That's right. And socialists have somehow got control of the American legal system. (I wish we had 1/1000th of the influence you think we have.)

"I'm not familiar enough with the trial or evidence, but I suspect Chretien's gang behind it. Chretien, a total narcissist, is an arch enemy of Black and is, himself, a master thief of the Canadian taxpayer, and businesses. His connections, his vindictiveness - I suspect Chretien's hand in this whole affair."

Yes, almost everything is the fault of the Liberals and especially of Chretien. That's a good heuristic. Keep applying it.

Posted by: exile at July 14, 2007 4:23 PM

As much as I really hate to admit it, Exile's made a point in his usual smarmy manner.

Chretien had something to do with this? Or the Liberals? Come on, give it a rest already.

And while there are more than a few posts from people (Socialists???) who obviously have it in for anyone with money, there are as many or more from those who seemingly are willing to forgive Mr Black because he's made so much money. The guy's guilty.

Conrad Black clearly acted as if he was above the laws the rest of us live by. At the end of the day, he's a liar and a thief.

Posted by: Jimbo at July 14, 2007 6:25 PM

It isn't "socialists" that have a problem with people who have money. Rather, it's conservatives that have a problem with liberals who have money. That's why there's so much invective directed toward people like George Soros, John Edwards, Hollywood producers, etc. because it contradicts the narrow paradigm equating "liberal" with "socialist" and creates maddening confusion.

Posted by: Cooler Head at July 14, 2007 7:05 PM

He has been found guilty in a trial which has a couple of serious question marks. Radler lied on the stand when he said he did not know he would serve as little as six months time based on Canadian sentencing/parole laws. Greenspan contacted a lawyer in Vancouver who specializes in the field to ask him some questions. He told Greenspan he would love to comment but he couldn't because he had been retained by Radler prior to Radler cutting his deal with Fitzgerald.

When Greenspan pointed this out to Judge St Eve and asked to have Radler back for further questioning based on this new information, she declined to allow him.

I find that strange for two reasons 1) Lying under oath shows a complete disrespect toward Judge St. Eve and the court. 2) If Radler could have been shown to be lying (again) under oath in court none of his testimony would have any merit, and that makes it tought to convict.

It may have cleared up what also is a very disconcerting misconception by the Jury. They are now speaking out and saying that they felt Radler was trying to protect Black. Showing he was still lying in court may have changed the jurys skewed perception of just why Radler was lying.

How anyone could think that Radler was somehow trying to protect Black in his testimony is beyond belief and I think should raise a question or two of the jurys collective view.

Posted by: ward at July 14, 2007 7:10 PM

Conrad Black is a prime example why people choose to be tried by a jury. What the hell do these guys know about corporate law? As much as I know.................nothing. Juries are easily swayed by a BSing lawyer. He would not have faired as well with a judge alone.

Posted by: sask.taxpayers federation at July 14, 2007 7:29 PM

I attended Upper Canada College a few years after Conrad Black left. Upper classmen told snickering tales of Black stealing exam papers before the actual exams were to be written, and then selling copies to other students. Some say he was expelled; Black has always maintained he left on his own terms. Black has also always threatened to sue anyone who claims these rumours are true.

Now let's fast forward a few years. Black and pals see an opportunity to pay themselves a few million bucks more by inventing non-compete clauses and payments - money that should have gone to the shareholders. Now, the shareholders could have gone to civil court to try to get the money back, but the fact remains that Black committed fraud, and that's a felony.

I thought Chretien's treatment of Black was petty. I never quite got what was so important to Black about being a lord, but that's his business. However, when you act as pompous and full of yourself as Black did, you make enemies, and you'd better make sure you're squeaky clean. In the end, that he would risk so much for a few hundred thousand dollars, proves to me that he really thinks the rules don't apply to him.

I respect people like Jim Balsillie of RIM, or Eugene Melnyk (owner of the Ottawa Senators and a multi-millionaire pharma maker), or Terry Matthews, who started Mitel, Newbridge, and March Networks, and provided thousands of jobs in the Ottawa area, so don't lump me in as someone who is envious of people who've made money; I wish there were more of them in Canada.

But in Black's case, I sum it up in a single word: karma.

Posted by: KevinB at July 15, 2007 2:05 AM

KevinB

Funny choice of examples as two of the three examples you use have run afoul of regulatory bodies and or the law.

Via CBC may 18
"Eugene Melnyk has agreed to pay $1 million to settle trading disclosure allegations levelled against him by Ontario regulators.

He will also be barred from being a director of Biovail for a year, beginning June 30. That's when Melnyk will retire as chairman of the pharmaceutical giant he founded 27 years ago."

The boys at RIM stole NTPs idea and ended up having to pay tens of millions for their theft.

Matthews seems to be an ok example though

Posted by: ward at July 15, 2007 11:11 AM

Hi Ward,

I have some sympathy for Melnyk; the allegation were made long after he'd built Biovail into a big company, and securities regulations in this country are such a hodge-podge (what's legal in one province may or may not be legal in another), I don't blame someone for being confused. (And I wish like hell that Jim Flaherty would get moving on a single national securities regulator for Canada.)

As for RIM; NTP is what is commonly known as a "patent troll"; their original patents were so broad and so obvious, they should never have been granted. More to the point, NTP never tried to commercialize their patents - they didn't try to license them or produce a product. They just waited for someone else to develop the same concept independently - NTP never proved that RIM accessed their patents - and then sued. Go to "slashdot.org" and search for NTP and RIM for a more in-depth discussion. It's worth noting that RIM won a number of cases during the battle, but NTP won the last one, and RIM finally decided to stop fighting and settle.

Would RIM have been smarter to settle when the suit was first brought by NTP? Obviously; it would have cost them a lot less, both in legal fees, and the final payment. But I can understand people getting emotional when they've done a lot of work to produce a pretty good product, and then some blood-sucking lawyer tries to horn in on their success. Unfortunately, emotional decisions in business are rarely optimal.

Finally, I again encourage you to visit slashdot, and search for "US patent office". The claims that are being processed by an understaffed and over-worked USPO are unbelievable. Amazon wants to patent the "one-click" checkout button. Here's another example from slashdot:

"eBay has been involved in a legal dispute over the use of its popular "Buy it Now" button, which allows consumers to skip the bidding and purchase items on eBay directly. The patent suit was filed six years ago by MercExchange L.L.C. In May of 2003, a jury ruled in MercExchange's favor finding that eBay did in fact infringe on the patent, but in 2005 the US Supreme Court ruled that MercExchange was not automatically entitled to a court order blocking the offending service, essentially handing a victory down to patent reform advocates. However, the ruling by the Supreme Court does not affect the final judgment of the court."

Now, here's the kicker: MercExchange was granted a patent for on-line auctions in 1999. e-bay was founded in 1995. They'd been in business for four years, but the USPTO did not consider that "prior art", which is usually the way patents are invalidated.

So you can see why many US firms think the whole patent system is completely f***ed. Note that in Europe, the EU is considering invalidating all software patents, and relying on copyright instead. (That is, if you want to create your own code for a "Buy Now" button, that's fine, but if you exactly copy e-Bay's code, that's a copyright violation.)

Cheers,

Kevin

Posted by: KevinB at July 15, 2007 2:19 PM

@Mark in Ottawa:

Why not just call me a fa**ot? Or just stick out your tongue?

@everyone else:

I've been sized up as a patriot by that fellow. Watch out and take note.

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at July 15, 2007 2:46 PM

i) Conrad Black = FELON
ii) Conrad Black = HATER OF CANADA
iii) Conrad Black = FLIGHT RISK
iv) Conrad Black = A 'LORD' NO MORE
v) Conrad Black = JUST ONE OF THE GUYS IN CELLBL0OCK 'A'

Posted by: leftdog at July 15, 2007 2:53 PM

@leftdog:

Your earlier demonstration that Conrad Black is a "hater of Canada" misses two points:

a) The U.K. and Canada are allies, and are currently fighting in the same overall war. If Conrad Black is to be a U.K. patriot, he must support U.K. troops, who do support Canadian troops - and vice versa.

b) The Head of State of Canada and the Head of the U.K. State are the same person, HM Queen Elizabeth II. She is, if only titularly, Commander-in-Chief of Canada's troops as well as the U.K.'s.

This being noted, I should tell you something. A while ago, I tried to make a name for myself in abstract mathematics, and made logical missteps all the time, thank to pursuing a single line of reasoning that contradicted other parts of the field. In retrospect, my fatal flaw was an unconscious attitude that assumed that sustained preparative memory work made me a 'do-nothing' type. This attitude ended up costing me by making my batting average lousy, and me an evident tyro. The points I made above are in the spirit of how I was corrected by less ignorant people in the field back then.

The argument that you're presenting - that some people are "better than patriot" - is an interesting one because it's unusual for a left-winger. Because it's not groupthink-based, it makes you stick out, though. I'd watch my back if I were you.

To get back to your most recent post:

a) there's an appeal about to be pending.
b) Conrad won't lose his title. It's customary in the U.K. to not strip a convicted felon with a title of his/her title. So, he may not rate that much respect anymore, but officially he'll still be a life peer no matter what the final outcome is.

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at July 15, 2007 4:41 PM

"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18
(King James Version)

Posted by: leftdog at July 15, 2007 6:05 PM

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven."
JESUS
Matthew (19:24)

Posted by: leftdog at July 15, 2007 6:41 PM

I wonder if Conrad himself has been told those. Myself, I would add another, more extended one:

"19. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, '"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"

"21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Romans 12:19 & 21, NRSV. It cuts to the heart of the "much maligned" factor.

Posted by: Daniel M. Ryan at July 15, 2007 9:12 PM
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