Ten years in prison for ex-mogul Conrad Black?

Thu Dec 6, 2007 3:49pm EST
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By Andrew Stern

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Conrad Black, once one of the world's most powerful press barons but now a convicted felon, will likely be sentenced on Monday to no more than 10 years in prison, legal analysts said.

Defense lawyers and prosecutors have sparred over a possible sentence since the Canadian-born British peer was found guilty in July of one count of obstructing justice and three counts of defrauding shareholders of former publishing giant Hollinger International Inc.

Once the overseer of Hollinger's far-flung newspaper empire that spanned from Jerusalem to Vancouver before much of its holdings were sold off, Black was acquitted on nine other charges, including racketeering conspiracy. Three fellow former Hollinger executives were found guilty of fraud and will be sentenced on Monday in U.S. District Court here.

Black is planning to appeal.

The company is a fraction of its former size and has been renamed Sun-Times Media Group Inc.

Judge Amy St. Eve, who presided over the 15-week jury trial, has wide leeway in determining sentences.

The government has asked St. Eve to sentence Black, 63, to between 16 and 24 years in prison, based on the prosecution's view the fraud scheme netted more than $31 million.

They objected to a probation report prepared for the judge that says the fraud amounted to $6.1 million -- which would recommend a sentence for Black of fewer than 10 years.   Continued...

<p>Conrad Black leaves the Dirksen Federal courthouse in Chicago, August 1, 2007. REUTERS/John Gress</p>