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article imageConrad Black going back to jail, wife faints in court

By Lynn Curwin     Jun 24, 2011 in Crime
Chicago - A judge ordered that former media tycoon Lord Conrad Black should return to prison, and his wife Barbara Amiel collapsed in her seat after hearing the decision.
In a Chicago court, federal Judge Amy St. Eve sentenced Black to 42 months, which means he could serve nine to 13 months. She also ordered him to pay a $125,000 fine.
St. Eve had imposed a 6 1/2-year sentence in 2007, after Black was convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice in connection with money missing from his media company, Hollinger International. After serving 29 months, doubt was cast on his convictions and he was released on a $2 million bond.
In October, his convictions on single counts of fraud and obstruction were upheld.
Black and his legal team argued that the time he had spent in a Florida prison was sufficient punishment, but prosecutors wanted him to serve the entire 78 months.
“If I am sent back, it will not be for very long,” Black earlier wrote in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail. “I do feel that I will ultimately win the battle, as the poverty of the government’s case is clear and we got rid of their [fraud] statute.”
Prosecutor Julie Ruder Porter said prosecutors are satisfied with St. Eve's decision.
"This court ruling sent a very strong message to corporate executives that it will not be tolerated when executives steal," the CBC quoted her as saying.
"The defendant has never accepted responsibility for his own conduct."
The National Post reported that Black's lawyer Miguel Estrada said his client had been a model prisoner and an "inspiration in a place where inspiration is rare."
The First Post reported that St. Eve was presented with sworn affidavits from two members of the prison staff at the correctional facility where Black had been held, claiming that he was "haughty" and "projected an attitude that he was better than others."
Amiel was escorted from the courtroom by paramedics after collapsing on her seat, but walked out of the courthouse with her husband.
Black has two weeks to file an appeal and six weeks before he must surrender to the prison bureau.
He has shown interest in returning to Canada, and it is expected that U.S. authorities would deport him when he is released from prison as he is not a U.S. citizen. Although Black was born in Canada, he gave up his citizenship in 2001 to become a British citizen so that he could accept a seat in the House of Lords.
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