Conrad Black emerging from prison a broken man — that’s a prospect as tragic as it is unlikely. In his own mind he is beyond reproach, and in his own mind he is free. Good for him. The world needs more shining examples of the human capacity to sneer at profound personal humiliation.
The last few days have seen Black — the fallen media baron who in better days was CEO of Hollinger International when it owned the Chicago Sun-Times and much more besides — return to prison to serve out the 13 months remaining on what was originally a 78-month sentence given him in 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice. Black served 29 months and then the Supreme Court overturned two of the three fraud counts on what I —but not he — would call technicalities. Black, free for 13 months on appeal, was resentenced to 42 months in prison.
And recent days have seen Black sue his former Hollinger business partner, David Radler, for self-dealing in one of the subsidiary properties they controlled, Horizon Publications. But there is surely much more than that motivating Black: Radler pleaded guilty to a single charge and testified against Black at the 2007 trial. Radler served a brief prison term and is now back in the publishing business in Canada.
And Black published his latest book, A Matter of Principle, in which, among many other things, he says what he thinks of Radler: