The testimony of more than two dozen witnesses and reams of documents shown to jurors at Conrad Black’s fraud trial has not produced the telling piece of evidence that resoundingly implicates the one-time media mogul, attorneys observing the 11-week trial said.
But the prosecution, which wrapped up its case last week, constructed a solid argument that Black and three co-defendants at former Chicago-based media giant Hollinger International Inc. committed a $60 million fraud and abused company perks.
“There were no smoking gun documents. But this is the case they were dealt and I think the prosecution did a very good job,” said Hugh Totten, an attorney who handles white collar criminal defense cases and has attended parts of the trial in U.S. District Court.
The Canadian-born Black, 62, faces 13 counts of fraud, tax evasion, obstructing justice and racketeering, charges that could send him to jail for 101 years and penalize him with millions of dollars in fines and forfeitures.
One count of money laundering against Black, who built and then dismantled one of the world’s largest newspaper publishing empires and became a globe-trotting celebrity and a member of Britain’s House of Lords in the process, was dropped without comment by prosecutors.