A Matter of Principle
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—Conrad Black, in his statement to the court, June 24, 2011
In 1993, Conrad Black was the proprietor of London's Daily Telegraph and the head of one of the world's largest newspaper groups. He completed a memoir in 1992, A Life in Progress, and "great prospects beckoned." In 2004, he was fired as chairman of Hollinger International after he and his associates were accused of fraud. Here, for the first time, Black describes his indictment, four-month trial in Chicago, partial conviction, imprisonment, and largely successful appeal.
In this unflinchingly revealing and superbly written memoir, Black writes without reserve about the prosecutors who mounted a campaign to destroy him and the journalists who presumed he was guilty. Fascinating people fill these pages, from prime ministers and presidents to the social, legal, and media elite, among them: Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jean Chrétien, Rupert Murdoch, Izzy Asper, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, Eddie Greenspan, Alan Dershowitz, and Henry Kissinger.
Woven throughout are Black's views on big themes: politics, corporate governance, and the U.S. justice system. He is candid about highly personal subjects, including his friendships - with those who have supported and those who have betrayed him - his Roman Catholic faith, and his marriage to Barbara Amiel. And he writes about his complex relations with Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, and in particular the blow he has suffered at the hands of that nation.
In this extraordinary book, Black maintains his innocence and recounts what he describes as "the fight of and for my life." A Matter of Principle is a riveting memoir and a scathing account of a flawed justice system.
agreements I had supposedly told Radler to issue. This monstrous assertion, presented by such an ill-favoured witness, was not going to do it for The People, despite all the prosecution’s advantages, when they faced a serious defence, provided I could field competent lawyers. Radler made his wretched court appearance in Chicago on September 20. He produced nothing useful for his new masters. He had been “tasked” by “Toronto” to get the non-compete payments for Hollinger Inc. and “surmised” that
franchises in such rich cities as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Montreal could do if operated seriously, and the stock price rose quickly by 50 per cent. There were not many further personnel changes, only steady pressure for integrity, balance, good writing, and lively presentation. Canada’s national newspaper company was no longer something to be ashamed of, and almost all of our critics in the Canadian media accepted this fact, however reluctantly. When we consolidated our control
removing documents. As my office had been open for months to one and all, with inspectors and lawyers rifling through all the files, photocopying and seizing masses of material, neither Joan Maida nor I could imagine that after all these months any document pertaining to events at least three years earlier would still be virgin material. I had stopped going to the office on any regular basis for some time: the swarms of intruders were too irritating. Anything I had wished to remove I could have
cleverness of the crime. She had developed a new sort of evidentiary analysis, a psycho-forensic approach that could conveniently be used to justify the charges. In essence, she told the jury to disregard all the witnesses and look for the “why” in actions that were perfectly legal. Ruder said: You have heard every penny is disclosed. Anyone in the world with a computer could log on to sec.gov and see exactly how much money Peter Atkinson got. That’s not what this case is about. It’s not about
a director, he joined the Audit Committee and the Special Committee when it was set up. From the beginning he made references to upcoming lunches and meetings with Laura Jereski and others. I couldn’t blame him for informing himself, but when he made it clear that he did not necessarily believe the version of our discussions with Southeastern Asset Management that I had written for the quarterly report in the summer of 2003, he arrayed himself as an antagonist. This was a role to which he quickly