A U.S. jury on Friday found Conrad Black guilty of three counts of criminal fraud and one charge of obstruction of justice in a grim Friday the 13th verdict that could send the former media baron to jail for up to 35 years.
Black’s three co-defendants were also convicted of three counts of mail fraud and could each get up to 15 years in prison.
The 62-year-old, Canadian-born member of Britain’s House of Lords — who once derided the case against him as a “massive smear job” and “toilet seat” hanging around prosecutors’ necks — also faces millions of dollars in fines and forfeitures.
His lawyers said he would appeal. Sentencing was not likely to occur until sometime in October. The status of Black’s bond was being reviewed by the trial judge but there were indications he would remain free and not be taken into custody.
The jury acquitted Black of a racketeering charge and all four defendants were also found not guilty of failing to file corporate tax returns.
Black’s three co-defendants, former Hollinger International Inc. chief financial officer Jack Boultbee, 64; Peter Atkinson, 60, former vice president and general counsel for the same company; and Mark Kipnis, 59, a former Hollinger lawyer, were all found guilty of the same mail fraud charges as Black.
The verdict left Black guilty of three counts of mail fraud and one charge of obstruction of justice out of the 13 counts against him.
Black sat largely expressionless as the verdicts were read but a visible scowl crept across his face when he was found guilty of obstructing justice — a charge that related to his removing cartons of records from his Toronto office.
Black’s 25-year-old daughter, Alana, and columnist-wife Barbara Amiel Black leaned over to talk to him; he remained seated at the defense table.