[JURIST] Jury selection began in Chicago Wednesday in the US federal trial of Canadian-born media mogul Conrad Black [JURIST news archive; CBC profile], the former chairman of media company Hollinger International – now Sun-Times Media Group Inc. [corporate website] – who faces 17 counts of fraud, obstruction of justice, racketeering and tax evasion related to the $2.1 billion sale of several hundred Canadian newspapers. Prosecutors allege [indictment, PDF] that Black and several associates personally kept money that was due to Hollinger International, paid by competing media companies pursuant to standard non-competition agreements. The jury may get to see a videotape [recorded video] of Black lifting 13 document boxes into his car after the SEC announced an investigation of Hollinger, as well as receipts indicating that Black used Hollinger money to pay for lavish birthday parties for his wife.
On Saturday Black published an article proclaiming his innocence [text] in Canada's National Post, a conservative paper he founded to compete with the traditionally-dominant Toronto Globe & Mail. Black faces a maximum sentence of 119 years in prison and a maximum $90 million fine if convicted on all 17 counts. AFP has more.