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Conrad Black may try to reopen U.S. convictions before Order of Canada: federal lawyers

Conrad Black takes his seat at a luncheon at the Empire Club in Toronto on Friday, June 22, 2012.

Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Federal lawyers say Conrad Black may try to "re-litigate" his U.S. criminal convictions if allowed to orally argue before an advisory council reviewing his membership in the Order of Canada.

Mr. Black, 67, is asking Federal Court to force the advisory council to allow him to present his case in person as it decides whether to recommend revocation of the prestigious award he received in 1990.

Documents filed in court prior to Mr. Black's hearing Friday show government lawyers plan to argue there is no legal reason the former media magnate can't file written representations, as per council rules.

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They say the order's 11-member council is not the right venue if Mr. Black intends to use his appearance to argue it should "reconsider the merits" of his convictions as part of the review process.

The council can recommend members of the order be stripped of their status, but the final decisions rests with Canada's Governor General.

Mr. Black was convicted in the U.S. of fraud and obstruction of justice while he was head of media giant Hollinger International.

He served 37 months of a 42-month sentence, but contends he was victimized by the American justice system, and that Canadian courts would never have convicted him.

Mr. Black was not immediately available for comment.

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