Conrad Black, who was sentenced to six and half years in prison last week on fraud charges, lashes out at two former friends this morning in the pages of the New York Sun for what he sees as their betrayal. It��s the first time that Black, who has been writing a regular column for the past several months, has spoken out about his triaand he’s decided to use it to lambast two prominent erstwhile defenders. Their crime? They have said that maybe Black might have done something or another wrong. They don't realize that Black is fighting the good fight for all of us—or at least all of us that might someday be the target of a RICO investigation by the feds.
His first target is William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review, who had the temerity to write that Black “probably was guilty on at least some of the charges.” Black finds Buckley conclusion disappointing because, as Buckley’s late wife Patricia once said, Black’s innocence is, like, totally obvious. Perhaps Buckley just hasn’t been paying attention, Black concludes.
“Well-disposed people who think that [Black is guilty of something] are likely not to be familiar with the facts and the current state of U.S. criminal procedure,” Black writes.
Black goes on to decry the “antics” of federal prosecutors and to claim for himself the mantle of defender of the people’s liberties. “I am fighting not just for my life and liberty, but also for the benefit of certain constitutionally guaranteed rights essential to the rule of law,” he writes.
Black also complains about something that will probably be familiar to DealBreaker readers—the ongoing injury done to our criminal justice system in pursuit of the prosecution of business crimes. He cites “the gradual redefinition in recent decades of the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment guarantees of due process, the grand jury as insurance against capricious prosecution, the prohibition against seizure of property without just compensation, speedy justice, access to counsel of choice and reasonable bail.”
But his strongest opprobrium is reserved for Henry Kissinger.
Knowing Mr. Kissinger as well as I do, I suspected that he would behave as Richard Nixon told me he generally did when a colleague came under pressure: privately declare solidarity with both sides and separate himself, so that neither side would confuse him with the other side, until it became clear which side had won.
We’ll admit that we’ve been more or less ignoring the Black trial. It seemed weirdly Canadian, and took place in Chicago. And some of the scandalous facts—he had a birthday party for his wife that cost $60,000!—seemed a bit less salacious than they were supposed to. But it does seem that the cost of this prosecution to Hollinger International shareholders has been far more than anything Black is accused of doing.
Kissinger, Buckley, and Me [New York Sun]