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Conrad Black asks federal judge to set aside guilty verdict

[JURIST] Canadian-born financier and former media mogul Conrad Black [JURIST news archive] filed a motion Monday requesting either a new trial or acquittal after his conviction [JURIST report] on mail fraud and obstruction of justice charges in July. In the motion, Black's lawyers questioned the credibility of some trial witnesses, including Black's long-time business partner F. David Radler [JURIST report]. Radler pleaded guilty in 2005 to mail fraud and agreed to testify against Black. Black's attorneys also argued that a decision by US District Judge Amy St. Eve [official profile] of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] to deny a defense request to recall Radler on cross-examination was unfair, and that St. Eve's instructions to the jury that Black could be convicted for purposely avoiding knowledge of illegal activity were improper.

Black was accused [indictment, PDF] by the US government of diverting more than $80 million from Hollinger International and its shareholders [JURIST report] during the company's $2.1 billion sale of several hundred Canadian newspapers. He was found not guilty on separate charges of racketeering, wire fraud, and tax evasion. His conviction on the three mail fraud and obstruction of justice counts could lead to a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million. Former Hollinger executives John Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis, also convicted of fraud, filed concurrent motions for new trials or acquittals. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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