Trump signs full pardon for British media baron Conrad Black

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump has granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who has written a flattering political biography of Trump. Black, a 74-year-old Canadian-born media mogul, was the CEO of Hollinger Inc., which was once the third-largest English-language newspaper conglomerate, owning the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Telegraph, and the Jerusalem Post.

In 2007, Black was convicted of obstruction of justice and fraud, for illegally pocketing money that should have gone to stockholders. He eventually spent three-and-a-half years in prison, and was deported from the United States.

The White House described Black, who a year ago published a glowing biography of Trump entitled "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other", as "entirely deserving" of the pardon.

In 2017, he pardoned ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt, after he defied a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected immigrants. Evidently after checking with White House counsel, Trump told Black that he was granting the pardon to reverse an injust verdict. He spent more than three years in prison.

He called it a long ordeal that was "never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied worldwide media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner". In a statement, the White House suggested Black's 2007 conviction for fraud and obstruction of justice, tied to an alleged scheme to swindle millions from investors, was overly harsh.

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He continues to write columns for the National Post.

It also said that many high-profile individuals had "vigorously vouched for his exceptional character", including Elton John and former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who served on the board of Hollinger International. "These include comprehensive biographies of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard M. Nixon, a complete history of Canada, and an impressive essay evaluating how the world would have been different had Japan not attacked Pearl Harbor" the statement continued.

Trump has used his power of pardon before this and critics say he does it for people who back him or his ideas. But it was Trump on the line, apparently telling Black that the full pardon would "expunge the bad wrap" he got.

"We've known each other a long time", Black recalled Trump telling him, "but that wasn't any part of the reason".

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