Legal Briefing: Conrad Black to Be Freed on Bail for Appeal

Legal Briefing: Conrad Black to Be Freed on Bail for Appeal
Legal Briefing: Conrad Black to Be Freed on Bail for Appeal

A daily look at legal news and the business of law:

Black to Get Bail While He Tries to Prove He's "Honest"

Former newspaper mogul Conrad Black will get out of jail on bail as he appeals his conviction for defrauding shareholders based on the now-narrowed "honest services" statute. The bail order comes even though Black was also convicted of an obstruction of justice charge. Black isn't out yet: The term and conditions of his bail still must be set, The Washington Post notes. Black has already served two years of his 6½-year sentence.

Meanwhile HealthSouth's (HLS) ex-CEO Richard Scrushy is also seeking to get out on bail while his honest services conviction is appealed, reports the Associated Press. Scrushy points out that he's now too broke to flee because of a $2.8 billion judgment against him. Scrushy has served three years of his seven-year sentence.

Goldman's Tourre Responds to the SEC

Goldman Sachs's (GS) codefendant in the SEC's fraud case, Fabrice Tourre, answered the charges against him by denying them and asserting seven overlapping defenses, two of which conflict with the admission Goldman made in its settlement that it had made a mistake. By admitting the Abacus deal documents should have contained information about Paulson & Co.'s role in creating the securities -- they were "incomplete" with out it, and it was a "mistake" not to include them -- Goldman implicitly conceded the information was material. Tourre's third and fourth asserted defenses insist the information was not material. On the other hand, Goldman's settlement, by conceding only a mistake, reinforces Tourre's claim that he lacked the requisite intent.

Blockbuster Agrees to Be Fair to Disabled People

The Department of Justice just settled with video rental company Blockbuster (BLOKA) over charges that people using service animals didn't have equal access to Blockbuster's stores and services. Blockbuster will pay the individual who filed the suit $12,000 in damages, pay a $10,000 fine, and institute a nationwide training program for three years. The settlement, coming a week shy of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a reminder of how many challenges the disabled still face.

And in the Business of Law...

• A female partner whose partnership gives her a share in the firm's profits and the ability to participate in the firm's governance just isn't an employee, and so can't sue for sex discrimination, the 3rd Circuit confirmed. The nonprecedential opinion leaves open the possibility that other types of partner might qualify as employees, notes the Legal Intelligencer. Given the well-established pay disparities between male and female partners, the question of just who is an employee might get litigated again.

• More evidence of the anemic summer associate market in New York City: Only 1,600 people were hired by firms this summer, down from an average of 2,800 over the last decade. Not that there are few lawyers, even after all the layoffs in the past couple years: New York Law Journal reports New York City is home to about 80,000 lawyers, or 1% of the population.