Thursday, June 7, 2007
An effort by defense counsel for Lord Conrad Black to recall the government's primary witness, former Hollinger International chief operating officer F. David Radler, was turned back by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. The defense claimed that it uncovered new information showing Radler lied during his testimony during the government's case-in-chief about whether he had any knowledge about parole procedures in Canada, where Radler may serve a portion of his sentence. According to a Bloomberg article (here), the defense claims it learned that shortly before entering into a plea agreement with the government, Radler hired a Canadian lawyer who is an expert on parole procedures, showing that he lied when testifying about his lack of knowledge. Judge St. Eve denied the motion on the ground that the information was available to the defense when Radler was cross-examined, so its failure to pursue that line of questioning was not a good enough reason to recall him. Perhaps the Judge was tired of hearing the defense accuse Radler of being a liar once again, a line of inquiry pursued ad nauseam during the earlier cross-examination. Will the denial of the defense request be something that would constitute reversible error? Most likely not, because the evidence is probably cumulative -- how many different ways could Radler be called a liar, anyway? -- and its relevance is minimal because the fact that Radler hired an attorney does not necessarily show that he lied in his testimony. If Black et al. are convicted, I suspect this would be at worst a harmless error, if the Judge's decision to refuse to recall Radler was even incorrect.
The defense case continues to grind on, although a lack of witnesses gave the jury a break for one day. Nothing particularly explosive from Lord Black, whose lawyers eschewed calling Donald Trump to testify about the party he threw for his wife that was paid for in part by Hollinger. The defense case is expected to end shortly, at which point the jury will be charged and we enter the phase of the case that is the equivalent of watching paint dry: jury deliberations. (ph)