July 20, 2010 / 9:21 PM / in 7 years

Bond hearing set for ex-media mogul Conrad Black

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The federal judge who sentenced Conrad Black to 6 1/2 years in prison will set the terms of the former media mogul’s release on bond on Wednesday morning, the judge’s clerk said on Tuesday.

A U.S. appeals court panel on Monday ordered the lower court judge, Amy St. Eve, to release Black from a Florida prison pending his appeal of his 2007 conviction on fraud and obstruction of justice.

Black will not be in court, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said.

The Canadian-born Black, a British peer who once led the world’s third-largest newspaper publisher, with titles including London’s Daily Telegraph, Canada’s National Post and the Chicago Sun-Times, entered a Florida prison in March 2008.

Black, 65, was sentenced on three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice after being convicted of swindling now defunct media holding company Hollinger International Inc out of $6.1 million.

Prosecutors said Black and three colleagues also convicted in the case paid themselves tax-free bonuses disguised as non-compete fees as they sold off pieces of the Hollinger empire.

Last month, Black won a victory when the U.S. Supreme Court limited the reach of the federal fraud law that prosecutors used frequently in corruption cases against government officials and executives like Black and former Enron Corp Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling.

The high court stopped short of overturning their convictions and sent the cases back to lower courts.

Black’s attorneys appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a three-judge panel agreed he should be granted bond. The appeals court had previously turned down Black’s appeals that jury instructions applying the “honest services” law were improper.

The federal law is applied to fraud cases in which a person is accused of depriving others of the intangible right to “honest services.” It has been criticized as being too vague and overused.

Black still faces numerous civil suits related to Hollinger, and U.S. tax authorities have demanded $71 million from him for unpaid taxes.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Peter Cooney

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