Conrad Black is going back to prison.
Judge Amy St. Eve on Friday sentenced Lord Black to a total of 42 months. Having already served 29 months, he must now go back to jail for about one more year.
"I still scratch my head as to why you engaged in this conduct," Chicago Judge St. Eve said. "Good luck to you."
Lord Black can still appeal.
His wife, Barbara Amiel Black collapsed in her seat after the judge read the sentence. She lay on the bench for some time before being helped out of the court room by two men. She struggled to stand upright as she walked out and was clearly upset.
The ruling followed a personal appeal by Lord Black to Judge St. Eve, during which he expressed regret for trusting his long-time business partner David Radler and for not taking more seriously the complaints of shareholders who opposed his governance practices at Hollinger International.
He blamed former U.S Securities and Exchange Commission chairman and special Hollinger investigator Richard Breeden for much of his legal woes, dismissing as "fantastic" many of the allegations in a special report by Mr. Breeden which described his tenure at the company as a "corporate kleptocracy."
Lord Black has sued Mr. Breeden and many former Hollinger officials, accusing them of libeling him in the report. A legal dispute over whether the case should be heard in Canada or the United States is now before the Supreme Court of Canada.
In Chicago, Lord Black's lawyers had argued there is no point sending him back to jail for any more time.
Lord Black "has suffered unmitigated" personal suffering and should be released on time served, lawyer Carol Gurland told Judge St. Eve during a sentencing hearing Friday morning.
Ms. Gurland went on for some time discussing Lord Black's good works in prison helping other inmates as well as his charitable work.
She also read from letters submitted by family and friends. And she noted Lord Black has serious health issues as does Ms. Black.
Judge St. Eve had been considering a sentence of between 51 and 63 months. Lord Black has already served 29 months of an original 78 month sentence for three counts of fraud an one for obstruction of justice. However two fraud charges were reversed on appeal.
Prosecutors wanted Lord Black to complete his full 78 month sentence.
Lord Black has been out of prison for roughly a year while pursuing various appeals of his criminal convictions for fraud and obstruction of justice. Friday's hearing marked the final chapter in what has been a prolonged and precedent-setting case that stretched all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and fundamentally changed U.S. fraud laws.
"If I am sent back, it will not be for very long," Lord 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. We took down all 17 of their counts and two were revived by a real exercise in gymnastics by the appeal panel chairman."
Lord Black, 66, was originally convicted in 2007 of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice over the misappropriation of $6.1-million (U.S.) at Hollinger International Inc., once one of the largest newspaper companies in the world. He has served 29 months of his sentence at a prison in Florida. He was released on bail last year after an appeal to the Supreme Court resulted in a reinterpretation of a key part of the fraud statute. That decision and further appeals led to the reversal of two fraud convictions connected to $5.5-million of the misappropriation.
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