LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – The Judge in the Conrad Black fraud case sided with Federal prosecutors summing up their fraud case by agreeing to give the jurors the so-called “ostrich instruction”.
The prosecutors can offer the jury two theories to convict the former press baron, Reuters reports: that he conceived and led a scheme to bilk millions from his company, or that he deliberately avoided knowing about it while filling his pockets.
Judge Amy St. Eve agreed with the “ostrich instruction” which means a defendant can be found guilty if he deliberately avoided learning about wrongdoing, even if the jury thinks he did not hatch the scheme.
That “deliberate avoidance” jury instruction is common in white-collar criminal cases, legal experts say.
“What it means is it gives the prosecutors a lot more options in arguing the case to the jury,” said white collar criminal defense attorney Lee Dunst, who has been following the case.
“One, they can argue Mr. Black engaged in intentional misconduct, and knew what was going on. Or, they can argue … he deliberately closed his eyes to what was going on,” Dunst said.