Conrad Black Freed on $2 Million Bail

After serving two years of his sentence, Conrad Black has been freed on $2 million bail.

His attorney Miguel Estrada had said he expected his client to return to his home in Palm Beach.

Is that Miguel Estrada who former President Bush wanted on the U.S. Court of Appeals? Yes.

Black's conviction for honest services fraud was vacated in June following the Supreme Court decision placing limits on the use of the statute. In Black's case, the jury instructions used an improper interpretation of the statute and that the fraud did not involve bribes or kickbacks. [More...]

At Black's trial, the Supreme Court noted, the jury was told Black and his co-defendants were guilty of honest services fraud if they misused their positions for private gain and "knowingly and intentionally" breached their duties of loyalty to the company.

"We hold, in short, that, by properly objecting to the honest-services jury instructions at trial, defendants secured their right to challenge those instructions on appeal," the Supreme Court said, in a decision written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Black is not totally home free. He still has an obstruction of justice conviction.

Estrada said he would seek to have the obstruction conviction overturned alongside the fraud convictions. The trial jury, Estrada said, would have viewed Black's decision to remove the boxes differently had they concluded he was not guilty of fraud.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Why any bail at all? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 09:55:25 PM EST
    O.K., so 2Mil USD collateral probably doesn't mean much to Black, and certainly a 200K USD deposit doesn't, but still why any bail at all?  The conviction was tossed out.

    If the obstruction charge and sentence is still good, then why release him at all?

    The appeal is remanded from the Supremes (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:05:55 PM EST
    to the Court of Appeals to decide whether the obstruction conviction and the one pure "money or property" fraud conviction (the rest of the counts were the invalidated "honest services" charges) are or are not "still good."  Because that is doubtful, bail pending the resolution of the remaining issues is appropriate.  In addition, it is quite possible that even if those two convictions are upheld after consideration on remand, the revised sentence will be less than or equal to the time already served.  So bail was appropriate for that reason as well.  Finally, my understanding is that a friend or colleague posted $2 million, not that Black posted 10% of $2 million, as you seem to assume.

    It Was (none / 0) (#3)
    by downtownted on Wed Jul 21, 2010 at 10:26:54 PM EST
    an I bond

    O.K. but -- (none / 0) (#4)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 02:46:41 AM EST

    The next question is:

    The guy had a 6 1/2 year sentence.

    (The following times are rounded off.)
    He served 2 1/3 years. (March 2008 to July 2010)

    I assume he gets time off for good behavior and all that.

    An 85 percent sentence would be 5.5 years.
    A 66 2/3 percent sentence would be 4 1/3 years.

    So with 2 1/3 years served, on the low end, he would have only 2 years left to serve.

    On the high end, he would have about 3 1/6 years.

    2Mil USD bail for that short amount of time???

    A man who worked for me was sentenced to 10 years and his bail was only 50K USD

    The purpose of bail (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 22, 2010 at 09:45:31 AM EST
    Is to ensure that the defendant has an incentive to show up for court proceedings.  Do you think $50,000 would be an incentive for Black to show up or do you think someone as rich as he is might just think of that as chump change and could easily afford to lose it by skipping town?  (not saying Black would skip, but someone rich like that would think about it).  Basically, it's a cost-benefit analysis that drives it,

    I understand, but Conrad is too big a guy to hide. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Jul 23, 2010 at 10:42:21 PM EST
    I understand, but Conrad is too old, and too big a guy to hide.

    My young friend could have disappeared into any port in the world.  He wouldn't  need a passport to ship out on a ship in most any port in the Americas.

    He was a good friend and worker at one time.  We worked together doing some hard times,and then (well you know- the usual crap happened) drugs.

    He asked me for bail, only $5,000 on the $50,000, and I said I would pay for a lawyer, but no bail.  They had grabbed every cent he had though most of it was in coke and mj.  I paid $7,500 for a lawyer just to get him the best deal and make sure he didn't get lost in the system.  The lawyer eventually made a good deal, but in the meanwhile my friend found some other idiots to make his bond, and he went back to the same thing.

    The lawyer had gotten him a year on appeal and near the end of that time, they caught my friend on a possession of crack charge.  He called again from jail, saying he just wanted to stay out the two weeks left until his sentencing.  There was a new $10,000 bail set, and all I had to do was post $1,000 with the bondsman or just lend the court $10,000.

    I said no.  "You are safer in jail."  He asked what do you mean?  I just want two more weeks freedom before I go to jail for 10 years.
    I said, "No (name) you are a menace!"

    He asked somewhat belligerently what do you mean I am a menace?  Who am I a menace to?  I said "(name) you are a menace to yourself."

    He paused then and (over the phone) said, I guess you are right.  Come see me.
    The lawyer and the prosecutor just kicked the crack charge into a can, and he got the sentence that had been agreed on.

    It broke my heart.  It was a great loss.  A loss to the military, to the country, to his family, and to his friends.   But we write sometimes, and I send two magazines and an occasional book.

    I have lost two very good friends near my age to early death, way too early.  I feel the same way about my younger friend in jail.

    I know a lot of people, but not that many that I can call late at night and talk for 4 hours to.