WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who has written a flattering political biography of Trump.
Black's media empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Telegraph of London. He was convicted of fraud in 2007 and spent three and a half years in prison. An appeals court reversed two convictions, but left two others in place.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Black "has made tremendous contributions to business, and to political and historical thought."
In 2018, Black published "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other." He wrote a column Wednesday in Canada's National Post describing how Trump called him and revealed the pardon.
"He could not have been more gracious and quickly got to his point: he was granting me a full pardon," wrote Black, who used much of the rest of the column to explain the case. He called it a long ordeal that was "never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied international media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner."
CHICAGO - DECEMBER 1: Former media mogul Conrad Black departs the Federal Courthouse December 1, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Black pleaded not guilty to eight counts of fraud related to the theft of $80 million from the media conglomerate Hollinger International Inc. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Conrad Black and his wife Barbara Amiel Black leave federal court in Chicago, Friday, June 24, 2011. Black, a once-powerful media mogul whose newspaper empire spanned several continents, is headed back to prison after a federal judge ruled Friday that he had not served enough time for defrauding investors. U.S. Judge Amy St. Eve sentenced Black to 3½ years in prison, but prosecutors say he will be given credit for about two years he already had served. The resentencing came after an appeals court decision last year. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Conrad Black arrives at Federal Courthouse with his wife Barbara Amiel, Friday, June 24, 2011 in Chicago. Black, 66, once one of the world's most powerful media moguls, will appear in court for his re-sentencing hearing on two fraud convictions, where a judge will decide whether he heads back behind bars or remains free for good. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2011 file photo, former media mogul Conrad Black arrives at federal court in Chicago, for a status hearing in his bid to remain free, as Black was released last year from a Florida prison while he appealed his conviction for defrauding Hollinger International Inc., investors. The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Black challenging his two remaining convictions on fraud and obstruction of justice, The Associated Press reports Tuesday, May 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arobasgt, File)
Former media mogul Conrad Black leaves the federal building in Chicago, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, after a status hearing where prosecutors said they do not intend to retry him on convictions that were tossed out last year by an appellate court. At the hearing Thursday, Judge Amy St. Eve also set a June 24 resentencing date for Black on the two convictions that were upheld by the appellate judges. Black was freed on bail last year from a Florida prison while he while he appealed his 2007 convictions for defrauding investors. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Former media mogul Conrad Black arrives at the federal courthouse with his wife Barbara Amiel Friday, July 23, 2010 in Chicago. He is to appear before Judge Amy St. Eve to hear about the rules of his bail. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
*** FILE *** Convicted newspaper mogul Conrad Black arrives at the federal building Monday, Dec. 10, 2007, in Chicago for sentencing in his racketeering and fraud trial. A federal appeals court on Thursday Feb. 28, 2008 denied former newspaper baron Conrad Black's request to remain free on bond while appealing his fraud conviction and ordered him to go to prison Monday. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
** FILE ** Convicted media mogul Conrad Black arrives with his wife, Barbara Amiel Black, for a hearing at federal court in Chicago in this Aug. 1, 2007 file photo. Black was convicted July 13, 2007, convicted of swindling Hollinger International Inc. shareholders out of millions of dollars. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
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In 2015, Black wrote a National Review essay titled "Trump Is the Good Guy." Trump tweeted it was an "honor" to read the piece, adding, "As one of the truly great intellects & my friend, I won't forget!"
The former media mogul was convicted of defrauding investors. A former member of the British House of Lords, he was sentenced to more than six years in prison after his 2007 conviction in Chicago, but was released on bail two years later to pursue an appeal that was partially successful. A judge reduced his sentence to three years.
Sanders said Black is the author of several notable biographies, including volumes on Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, but she did not mention his book about Trump.
She said Black's case attracted broad support from many high-profile individuals — including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Elton John and Rush Limbaugh — who have "vigorously vouched for his exceptional character."
Trump on Wednesday also pardoned Patrick Nolan, a former Republican leader of the California State Assembly. Nolan has been a vocal advocate for criminal justice reform since he spent more than two years in federal prison during the 1990s.
Sanders said Nolan wrote a guide for churches and community groups to help prisoners return to their communities. While incarcerated, he also helped organize religious-study groups and he is "uniformly described as a man of principle and integrity," she said.