The lawyers for media magnate Conrad Black [CBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Monday filed a motion [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois [official website] to dismiss the remainder of their client's convictions because the prosecution had deprived him of his right to an attorney. Black argued that the government, among other fallacies, improperly seized his funds in the amount of $9 million from the sale of his New York apartment in 2005 that he designated to retain Williams & Connolly. Despite the argument that the government had seized the proceeds from the sale with a defective affidavit and that the seizure would hinder Black from retaining the counsel of his choice, the government filed an indictment alleging that Black engaged in fraud in valuing the New York apartment. The funds were not released to him until the trial ended, allegedly depriving him of his constitutional right to an attorney. Black argued that the affidavit was in violation of the Fourth Amendment because it inaccurately alleged Black's purchase of the apartment was illegitimate. Black is asking the court to vacate his remaining convictions which would allow him to defend himself against an ongoing SEC action. As an alternative, Black requests a hearing in which the government presents all evidence that proves Black's alleged fraudulent purchase of the New York apartment.
In May, Black was released [JURIST report] from federal prison in Florida. Last June, he was ordered to return to prison [JURIST report] for an additional 13 months after he served his sentence of 42 months because the sentencing guidelines mandated he serve his full sentence. He had been released on bond in 2010 by after the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] granted Black's request for bail following a Supreme Court ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] in Black v. United States [Cornell LII backgrounder]. The Court of Appeals vacated Black's two "honest service"-based convictions after Supreme Court instructed the circuit court to review the jury instructions given at trial concerning the "honest services" doctrine [18 USC § 1346 text]. Black was accused in 2007 of diverting more than $80 million from Hollinger International and its shareholders [JURIST report] during Hollinger's $2.1 billion sale of several hundred Canadian newspapers and faced 17 counts of fraud, obstruction of justice, racketeering and tax evasion.