Conrad Black, the former newspaper magnate who lived lavishly, socialized with rich and powerful people on both sides of the Atlantic and gave up his Canadian citizenship to join British nobility, reported to the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex on Monday where he’ll be known as inmate No. 18330-424.
Quickly, quietly and just over two hours ahead of a 2 p.m. ET court-imposed deadline, a teal-coloured Cadillac Escalade with dark-tinted windows carrying Black and his wife Barbara Amiel Black slowed on Country Road 470 and made a quick right turn into the sprawling facility.
He made no final declarations on his way inside, ignoring the 30-odd media types waiting across the road to document his arrival.
Thirty minutes later Amiel Black, sitting alone behind an unidentified driver, made a similarly swift departure, leaving behind her husband to be fingerprinted, photographed and given a room assignment for the start of his 6 1/2-year sentence.
“Conrad Black is now in custody of the Bureau of Prisons,” Mike Truman, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, said a short time later.
“He is housed at the low-security facility.”
Black, 63, was convicted of three counts of fraud and one for obstruction of justice in July after a nearly four-month trial in Chicago, but is appealing and views prison as another venue from which to continue the process.
His lawyers must file with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by Thursday, but have said they may need a little more time.
“We both continue to remain optimistic about our prospects on appeal,” said Andrew Frey, the lawyer handling Black’s appeal.
“I called Mr. Black yesterday to wish him well, and he seemed to be taking things as much in stride as one who feels he is being unjustly imprisoned could.”
Alan Dershowitz, who is helping with Black’s appeal, added that Black still hopes for complete vindication, which “will ultimately come from the court of history as well. When historians review this case they will conclude it was a terrible injustice, and we hope the court of appeal will see that.”
In the meantime, the life he knew as head of what was once the world’s third-largest newspaper empire and as Lord Black of Crossharbour is gone.
Black sped away from the white wrought-iron gates of his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion shortly before 9 a.m. for the 350-kilometre trip to the Coleman facility, which is near Orlando.