Former media mogul Black heading back to prison after re-sentencing

A FEDERAL judge in Chicago has re-sentenced former media mogul Conrad Black to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Prosecutors say he will be given credit for the time he has served.

The re-sentencing by US Judge Amy St Eve yesterday followed an appellate court decision last year.

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That court threw out two of Black’s 2007 fraud convictions. But it upheld a conviction for fraud and for obstruction of justice. It said Judge St Eve would have to sentence Black again for those two counts.

The Canadian-born businessman was freed on bail from a Florida prison last year as he appealed against his convictions for defrauding investors in Hollinger International. He served two years of his original six-and-a-half-year sentence.

Black’s empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times and the Daily Telegraph.

Black, 66, renounced the citizenship of his homeland to become a member of the House of Lords and was known for a grand lifestyle.

With homes in New York, Toronto, Florida and London, the socialite Lord Black of Crossharbour was known to enjoy the company of the rich, powerful and famous, with his glamorous second wife, Watford-born journalist Barbara Amiel, by his side.

Prosecutors who brought the fraud case against him depicted him as a devil-may-care elitist who looks down his nose at the rest of humanity. The defence counters he is a gentleman who quietly goes about helping others.

Prosecutors had asked Judge St Eve to hand Black the same six-and-a-half-year sentence she originally meted out in 2007, meaning he would have had to spend about four and a half more years in prison.

“He fails to acknowledge his central role in destroying Hollinger International through greed and lies, instead blaming the government and others for what he describes as an unjust persecution,” prosecutors said in a recent filing.

Black’s lawyers, in turn, have accused government attorneys of vindictiveness, saying their justification for a stiffer sentence displays “a drive-by disparagement of Mr Black”.