Conrad Black's Conviction Set Aside

Conrad Black
Conrad Black

The courts have been busy Thursday, with two rulings coming down related to famous fraud cases. In the first, the U.S. Supreme Court gave Jeffrey Skilling a partial victory on his conviction for leading the Enron accounting fraud. In the second, the court set aside the conviction of former media baron Conrad Black for defrauding shareholders of Hollinger International. At the heart of these cases was the interpretation of the Honest Services law.

The Canadian-born chairman of the one time newspaper publishing giant has been in a U.S. prison since March 2008, when he began serving a 6-1/2-year sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg delivered the opinion of the court, saying the "Honest Services" statute under which he was convicted was interpreted too broadly. The jury should have been told it only applies to bribery and kickback schemes.

The justices sent the case back to a U.S. appeals court in Chicago for further proceedings, Reuters reports. The former newspaper magnate, who had also been a member of Britain's House of Lords,
may see some of the charges retried or dismissed and his sentence could be further reduced.