Saturday, June 24, 2006

Conrad Black defended by Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun

"Harassing Black out of spite
Does anyone think press baron will skip court?

If ever there seemed a clear case of judicial harassment against a defendant, what the U.S. government is doing to Conrad Black seems pure malice and vindictiveness.

Do they really think he'll try to skip bail?

The U.S. District Attorney's Office for Illinois (where Conrad is charged with a bunch of yet-unproven crimes ....

This seems spite and nastiness, even a sadistic urge to hurt or do damage -- all because it's claimed that Conrad overestimated the value of his $36 (or as low as $32) million Palm Beach mansion; that he didn't disclose a tax lien by Revenue Canada; that he didn't disclose that wife Barbara has an ownership interest in the Florida property; that he had more money in his bank account than he said. ...

Does anyone doubt that Conrad intends to fight this case, to try and prove his innocence?..."

Worthington's column

Yes Peter, crimes are always "unproven" until a court says otherwise. However, some of the facts known to knowledgable people raise more than one eyebrow. (And you are knowledgable about this affair Peter, aren't you? You wouldn't write about something you know nothing about, would you?)

Furthermore, the point is not whether Conrad will skip bail or not: The point is that he misrepresented the value of assets he posted as bail. In other words, he lied. But that - as everybody but Peter Worthington knows - is easy for Conrad Black. Lying to a court about bail posted would land everybody else in jail. Conrad may think he's better than the rest of us but the law should treat him just like everybody else.

"Does anyone doubt that Conrad intends to fight this case, to try and prove his innocence?"

My emphasis

What does Peter Worthington know we don't as he just asserted the innocence of Conrad Black? I don't believe for a second that the awkward phrasing of "to try and prove his innocence" was a mistake. "And try to prove" would not assert Conrad's innocence. The way it was printed does.

Makes me wonder if Peter ever worked for Conrad and more generally what the purpose of this column in a paper mainly read by working class people is. To show what wonderful people these "entrepreneurs" (in the true sense of the word "entre") are?

For a more factual treatment of this see:

Bloomberg News