Media baron Conrad Black’s fate is hanging in the balance, as the jury consider whether he is guilty of fraud and what the US authorities call “racketeering”.
Conrad Black could go to jail for the rest of his life
But while the former chief executive of the Hollinger press empire waits to hear whether he will go to jail, a new trial has begun in the same court building.
Four former mafia bosses stand accused of a lifetime of involvement in organised crime.
They are all in their 60s and 70s. The oldest – Joey “the Clown” Lombardo – is 78. The offences alleged include 18 murders.
The trial has been dubbed Family Secrets by the US press, because two of the key witnesses are the son and brother of one of the accused.
It’s a landmark case, according to Jim Wagner, president of the Chicago Crime Commission, because of the sheer number of crimes of which the men stand accused.
The American media have turned up in force to cover the Family Secrets trial, which is taking place on the 25th floor of the dark skyscraper which houses the Federal courts in Chicago.
Joey Lombardo is the oldest defendant in the mob trial
Meanwhile, the Canadian and British media wait outside the Conrad Black trial courtroom 13 floors below.
Most British newspapers have a reporter in Chicago to cover that verdict, whenever it comes. The Canadian media are even more heavily represented.
Conrad Black was born into a wealthy Canadian family and rapidly built his own business empire. He and his business partner, David Radler, took over numerous Canadian newspapers.