Donald Trump issues pardon for Conrad Black

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2019

Donald Trump on Wednesday signed a full pardon for the former media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted in 2007 of fraud and obstruction of justice and spent three and a half years in prison.

Conrad Black's worldwide media empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain's Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post. Care to guess the camp from which the president pardoned an author?

Former media baron Conrad Black (C) leaves the Dirksen Federal Building following a status hearing on his criminal conviction January 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.

"An entrepreneur and scholar, Lord Black has made tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought", the White House said in a statement.

In the book, Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other, Black wrote that Trump is "a good deal more ethical and honest than many other businessmen and corporate directors I have known".

"He could not have been more gracious and quickly got to his point: he was granting me a full pardon", wrote Black, who used much of the rest of the column to explain the case.

"My long ordeal with the US justice system was never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied global media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner", he wrote.

Trump tweeted it was an "honour" to read the piece, adding, "As one of the truly great intellects & my friend, I won't forget!"

Trump, who was by then already a celebrity of sorts, attended the meeting even though he did not own any Hollinger shares, Black's trial heard from the company's former head of investor relations Paul Healy. But a conviction for felony fraud and obstruction of justice were upheld in 2010 and he was re-sentenced to 42 months in prison and fined $125,000.

But years of legal battles - which went all the way up to the US Supreme Court - failed to fully clear his name, although he did manage to greatly reduce his prison time by clearing himself of numerous charges.

The statement said those supporting Black's pardon include former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Sir Elton John, Rush Limbaugh and the late William F. Buckley, Jr., founder of the conservative magazine National Review.

It goes on to describe how Nolan ended up advocating for criminal justice reform, specifically the "Prison Rape Elimination Act", the "Second Chance Act", the "Fair Sentencing Act", and the "FIRST Step Act".

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