LawFuel – Law Jobs Law Newswire – David Radler began his testimony on Monday against Conrad Black, his long-time friend and business partner, with a bold confession, as reported by the Financial Times.
“I [pleaded] guilty to fraud . . . to taking money from Hollinger International . . . in certain senses that were not allowed,” Mr Radler said, in response to questions from the chief prosecutor in the case, Eric Sussman, on his 2005 plea agreement.
Mr Radler, who is widely expected to be the government’s star witness in the fraud trial, admitted in the first few minutes of what is anticipated to be days of testimony that prosecutors had agreed to recommend a 29-month jail sentence in return for his truthful testimony. He also said the government had not promised to help or hinder a future transfer to a Canadian prison.
Wearing a dark blue suit, white shirt and pink tie, his eyes were downcast through most of the testimony. In response to questions from Mr Sussman, the former Hollinger chief operating officer told the jury of how his long friendship with the Canadian-born peer began.
Mr Radler testified that he first met Lord Black when, as young entrepreneurs in their mid and late-twenties, they had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance. They took over the loss-making Sherbrooke Record, an English-language community newspaper in Quebec that turned a profit three months later.
In asking Mr Radler to recount his early dealings with Lord Black, then still a Canadian citizen, Mr Sussman appeared to be seeking to establish how closely the pair interacted in building what would eventually become one of the biggest newspaper companies in the world. The two Canadians ate together, socialised and communicated frequently, Mr Radler said of his early days with Lord Black.