Conrad Black’s long-time secretary testified on Thursday that the former media kingpin did not even look inside a number of boxes she had packed and he later removed from their Canadian office in what prosecutors have depicted as a move by Black to hide important evidence, Reuters report.
Joan Maida, Black’s secretary since 1994, was among the first witnesses called by defense lawyers as they started their case in Black’s criminal fraud trial following 11 weeks of prosecution-led testimony.
She described an incident in Toronto on May 20, 2005, in which Black and his chauffeur loaded 13 boxes into Black’s car. It was the day after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had told Black’s lawyers he would have to surrender some of his records, prosecutors contend.
The removal also violated a standing order from a Canadian court that no documents were to be taken from the offices without court permission, prosecutor have contended. They have also said Black could have removed and destroyed or hidden evidence from the boxes during the five days he had them.
The incident was caught on a security camera and jurors were shown a tape of it earlier this week.