Federal prosecutors rested their racketeering and fraud case against media mogul Conrad Black on Wednesday minutes after they announced they were dropping one count ? a money laundering count ? against Black.
“At this time the prosecution rests,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric H. Sussman told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve, just before 3 p.m., ending more than 10 weeks of the government’s case against the press lord.
Defense attorneys were scheduled to open what promised to be a much briefer case starting Thursday.
Black, 62, and three other men are charged with swindling the big newspaper holding company out of millions of dollars, largely through the sale of assets belonging to the Hollinger International media empire.
Purchasers of hundreds of community papers across the United States and Canada made payments in exchange for promises from Hollinger International, of which Black was chairman, not to compete with them.
Millions of dollars from such payments were diverted to companies controlled by Black as well as to Black and other Hollinger executives in what federal prosecutors described as a large-scale scam.
Prosecutors say the money should have gone to shareholders; Black and his attorneys say he has done nothing wrong.