Conrad Black Sentenced to 6.5 Years in Prison
UPDATE: 2:00pm ET: Conrad Black has been sentenced to 6.5 years in prison and a $125,000 fine. The sentence was handed down for only $6.1 million defrauded. Judge Amy St. Eve said that the sentence could not be applied to the $32.5 million originally purported frauded because, "the government has not met its burden of establishing that loss amount." Black made a short speech before leaving the courtroom with his wife and daughter. His sentence begins at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida on March 3, 2008.
The sentencing hearing for former newspaper magnate Conrad Black is currently underway in Chicago. According to early reports, the judge is recommending a six to eight year sentence. According to a former prosecutor speaking on a nightly newscast yesterday, the length of sentence in many fraud cases is directly linked to the amount of money proved defrauded.
Black could be sentenced to up to 35 years. But it appears he will receive much less. The CBC's Heather Hiscox reported Monday that the judge has chosen to apply more lenient sentencing guidelines when she passes sentence.
The judge also ruled that the prosecution had not made its case that the fraud amounted to $32 million US. Instead, she said she would base the sentence on the $6-million US loss that had been estimated in a pre-sentencing report.
In a series of e-mails with CBC News last week, Black said if he does head to prison, it would "only compound the injustice of this entire vendetta."
Prison would be "a bore, but quite endurable," he wrote. He also had no time for suggestions that a jail sentence would be "shaming." Prison, he said, would be "a badge of honour to help expose prosecutorial excesses."
CBC reporter Mike Hornbrook asked him, again by e-mail, if he was sorry for what happened at Hollinger when he was in charge and if he'll apologize or ask the judge for leniency.
"Wait until Monday," Black responded, "and learn the answers."