Oh, let us pray…
U.S. prosecutors are expected to ask that Conrad Black be given a virtual life sentence of at least 30 years in prison, sources familiar with the case told the Star, even though a government lawyer suggested in court last week that the 62-year-old fraudster might face 15 to 20 years behind bars.
A 12-member jury convicted him Friday on three counts of mail fraud and one count of obstruction. Each fraud count carries a maximum five-year sentence while the obstruction charge, related to Black’s removal of documents from his Toronto office in May 2005 despite a court order to the contrary, carries a possible 20-year term.
Let’s hope they decide to run those terms consecutively, with no time off for good behavior. (Conrad Black and “good behavior” just don’t go together nohow!)
At a court hearing Friday to discuss bond and bail issues, assistant U.S. attorney Eric Sussman told Judge Amy St. Eve that the government considers Black to be a flight risk since “even in the most conservative estimate” he is facing 15 to 20 years behind bars.
Black has surrendered his British passport and will attend a hearing this Thursday when St. Eve will decide whether he must wait in prison for his Nov. 30 sentencing hearing, or alternatively, whether he can return to Toronto. The judge could order Black to remain in the United States until sentencing four months from now.
Let’s pray they do THAT, too.
Above all, let us pray that it doesn’t enter his head to do a Kenny Boy between now and that fateful day. Remember, Conny Boy is in the same age bracket. And he looks none too fit. He could very easily pop off with a few good steak dinners and some strategic neglect of any prescribed medication. That would be the ultimate in flight risks.
Things like this make me wish they’d give him a speedier sentencing:
In the months leading up to the four-month trial, then during the proceedings, Black has often been a lawyer’s nightmare.
He scorned prosecutors for pursuing a case he called a “toilet seat” around their necks. Black called the four Jewish lawyers who formed the government’s trial team “Nazis” and called the indictments against him “a smear campaign.”
Genson said he didn’t begrudge Black the chance to claim he was wrongfully convicted.
“I’d rather he didn’t say anything but the guy has a right to defend himself,” Genson said.
Last week, Black was photographed giving the finger at news media covering the trial.
“He’s acting like a mob boss on trial rather than a CEO of a major corporation,” former federal prosecutor Kirby Behre remarked shortly before the jury returned.
And at one point during the trial, St. Eve, who has discretion to decide Black’s ultimate fate, called his lawyers into her chambers and said, “If you can’t control him … I’d be happy to do it.”
Several white-collar crime experts agreed Black’s incendiary comments out of court might hurt him at sentencing.
“Most judges don’t take a shine to defendants who act like they shouldn’t be there and treat the system with disdain,” said Samuel Buell, a former prosecutor with the Enron Task Force.
“After all, the judge and a lot of other people believe they’re working very hard to afford this person the benefits of arguably the fairest and most rights-respecting criminal justice system in the world,” Buell said.
“It’s understandable why people subjected to prosecution would be mad at the system, but no one likes an ingrate.”
No one likes a robber baron, either.
Frankly, I can think of no better way to take the wind out of him than to sentence him as if he were no more than a common criminal–quickly, and with the shackles on. Treat him as if he were black (not Lord Black) and caught with crack (not a crack team of high-priced attorneys.)
After all, contempt of court deserves the contempt of the court, does it not?