These days the normally verbose Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, is cross and harbouring resentment toward his former associate, David Radler, who will be a chief witness against him in the coming trial. Radler had been chairman and CEO of Black's Hollinger International Inc. Both men have been charged with diverting cash and assets from the company between 1999 and 2003, for their own personal gain. Radler has agreed to pay $29 million (US) as part of a settlement, though he neither denied or admitted the charges against him. The other part of the settlement is Radler's testimony in the trial.
Black's universe appears to be imploding as it spirals closer to a black hole where he may not escape. Just eight years ago his company Hollinger International Inc., had revenues of $2 billion, and was the third biggest newspaper publishing group in the world. He became a Lord in 2001, and his wife became Lady Barbara Amiel-Black. Their posh home and high-class parties drew the society of his peers, princes and counts. As reports of criminal allegations became public in 2004 Lord Black has been diss-counted by his peers in the London social scene. Facing lawsuits, charges of racketeering and money laundering, he sold over 500 newspapers from Hollinger International Inc. which is no longer his. He has had to sell two homes and mortgaged another to raise money.
When Lord Black's case begins on Monday, March 19, 100s of reporters will be covering the expected four month trial. A jury "of his peers" were selected from a cross-section of Chicago society a few days ago. It will likely reach a peak in public interest several times, when Donald Trump appears, and when the star prosecution witness Radler testifies against Black. If Eddie Greenspan and the rest of Black's defense team can discredit the evidence of David Radler, then that may be their best chance of proving Black's innocence.
We will be hearing plenty more of this trial in the coming months. Whether you have a little or a lot of interest in this case, you might be wondering what the final verdict will be. Will Conrad Black again be living side by side with the upper crust, or simply eating it?