Saturday, May 26, 2007
Lord Conrad Black's reaction to the testimony of his former lieutenant, David Radler, was more than just a little bit testy. Black assailed the former chief operating officer of Hollinger International as a liar, something his attorney Edward Greenspan spent almost three days saying, and concluded that no "jury in the world would convict anybody on the basis of what he said." In another interview, the erstwhile Hollinger CEO said, "If there is any criminal in this case, the government's supposedly 'star witness' is the criminal." U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve responded to protests by the prosecutors about Black's comments, telling the defense lawyers that "[i]f you can't control him . . . I'd be happy to do it." I suspect the good Lord will be a bit more circumspect in the future. A CBC News article (here) discusses the Judge's response to Lord Black's commentary.
The prosecution is looking to wrap up its case-in-chief shortly, after the most recent focus on an exchange of New York co-op apartments with Hollinger International that allegedly benefited Lord Black in the transfer. After a few clean-up witnesses, the government will rest and the defense gets its turn. Will any of the defendants testify? Given Lord Black's penchant for biting (and perhaps even bitter) comments, I still think he is far too dangerous to put on the witness stand. But the decision is ultimately one that is made by the defendant, and it may be that Lord Black cannot restrain himself from explaining what he did right at Hollinger. Among the other defendants, Mark Kipnis, the former general counsel at the company and only U.S. citizen among the defendants, is the best bet to testify. He did not receive any money from the non-compete agreements at the heart of the case and Radler's testimony seemed more favorable than inclulpatory about him. The defense could always pull a surprise and simply rest without calling a witness -- a risky strategy to be sure, but one that keeps the defendants from creating fodder for the jury to convict them. With four defendants, the defense presentation could take a while, so the trial may not be concluded until we get near the Fourth of July. (ph)