LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Experts say convicted media magnate Conrad Black will likely succeed in his bail application.
Black, who is facing decades in prison after being convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice, is likely to remain free after this week’s bail hearing because he’s a first-time offender who’s repeatedly vowed to fight the charges against him, say experts following the case.
The Montreal-born British peer and former media baron was convicted of three charges of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice Friday — a verdict that carries penalties of as much as 35 years in a U.S. federal prison.
After the verdict was announced, lead prosecutor Eric Sussman tried to have Black immediately remanded in custody, saying Black may be motivated by the harshness of the penalty he is facing — estimated by the government to be somewhere between 15 to 20 years.
But most observers seem to agree with Black’s lawyer Ed Genson, who argued Black was a “very visible man who’s followed by reporters wherever he goes.”
“My sense is that the prosecution wants him jailed because they want to make an example out of Black,” said James Morton, president of the Ontario Bar Association.
Black, he noted, still has to go through the appeal and sentencing process, and could easily stay out of jail until September of 2009 if he is released on bail.
“Punishment will not follow the conviction very promptly,” he said.
Still, Judge Amy St. Eve seemed hesitant to order Black to jail immediately after the verdict, choosing instead to put off the bail hearing until this week. St. Eve asked him to stay in Chicago and turn over his U.K. passport.