Judge Rejects Separate Trials in Conrad Black Fraud Case

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By: E&P Staff

All four defendants in the federal criminal fraud trial stemming from the alleged plundering of Hollinger International Inc. will be tried together, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve rejected motions from deposed newspaper mogul Conrad Black and his three co-defendants — former Hollinger executives Peter Y. Atkinson, John “Jack” Boultbee, and Mark Kipnis — to sever their cases from each other.

All argued they could not get a fair trial if they were tried with the other defendants.

“The court will instruct the jury that the government bears the burden of proving each defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” St. Eve wrote in a decision, first reported by Bloomberg. “The jury must consider each individual defendant and each count separately.”

Trial starts March 14 in Chicago. Black and the others are charged with several counts of fraud and tax evasion for allegedly pocketing some $84 million in non-compete fees from the sales of newspapers by Hollinger, now known as the Sun-Times Media Group.

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