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Convicted former media mogul Conrad Black arrives at his oceanside mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., after being released from prison on July 21, 2010.

HANS DERYK/Hans Deryk/Reuters

Conrad Black pulled into the gates of his Palm Beach, Fla., home at 5:30 ET on Wednesday, driving through a swarm of reporters following his release from prison.

The oceanfront house, which has been assessed for tax purposes at $32.6-million (U.S.), sits on Palm Beach's South Ocean Boulevard, a picturesque stretch populated by high-end resorts, golf clubs, tennis courts and mansions.

There were signs of life at the house Wednesday, with workers checking the mailbox, tending to the trees, and doing some work around the property.

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Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Judge Amy St. Eve signed the order clearing the way for the former media baron to be released.

The Globe and Mail's Paul Waldie reports from the courtroom in Chicago



He is scheduled to appear before Judge St. Eve Friday afternoon, and cannot leave the U.S. until a further order from the court.

He must also post a $2-million bail secured by business friend Roger Hertog under the terms of bail conditions set this morning at a bail hearing in Chicago.

Lord Black was granted bail Monday by a federal appeal court while it reviews his convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice.

The review comes after the U.S. Supreme Court redefined a key legal theory used to convict Lord Black and several other former executives of Chicago-based Hollinger International Inc. in 2007.

As a result of the new definition the high court ruled that the jury in Lord Black's case did not receive proper instructions and it vacated the fraud convictions. The appeal court will now have to decide if there was evidence anyway to convict Lord Black. In the meantime it granted Lord Black's request for bail and left Judge St. Eve to set the terms.

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Lord Black has served just over two years of a 6 1/2- year sentence. He is the only defendant in the Hollinger case still behind bars.

One of Lord Black's problems is that he has no identification. The court was told everything expired while he was in jail including his British passport.

He also appears to have few assets. The court heard that his interest in his Palm Beach, Fla., house is only "contractual" and that it has to be sold before September for Lord Black to receive some of the proceeds. Lord Black's lawyer Miguel Estrada said Lord Black would likely live in a hotel if he is not allowed to leave the U.S.

Judge St. Eve said Lord Black cannot leave the U.S. until she receives a report on his finances and until he appears before her on Friday.

Prosecutor Julie Porter said she was not necessarily against Lord Black returning to Toronto, but only after the court office assessed his finances and made a determination.

Mr. Estrada told reporters Lord Black will spend a few days at his home in Palm Beach. Ultimately Mr Estrada hopes Lord Black can return to Toronto.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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