Conrad Black Defense Aims to Get Radler Back on the Stand

06 June 2007

CHICAGO: As the long-running trial of Lord Conrad Black nears its conclusion, the fallen media baron wants to call back his one-time close associate turned star prosecution witness David Radler for further cross-examination by his defense team.

Radler, who plea-bargained on one count of fraud in the alleged plot to pocket $60 million (€44m; £30.1m) that should have gone to Hollinger International [H-Intl] shareholders, earlier testified that Black had been part of the scheme.

He had also told the court that he'd no idea he would serve his prison term in Canada, and therefore might spend only six months behind bars - a statement Black's lawyer, 'Fast' Eddie Greenspan, said he found hard to believe, although Radler swore to tell the truth.

In a filing to Judge Amy St Eve, fellow defender Marc Martin claimed Radler "professed ignorance" about "Canadian parole rules governing release of white-collar prisoners after service of one-sixth of a sentence."

In addition, the filing cited evidence that Radler consulted with a Canadian parole lawyer before reaching his plea bargain with US prosecutors.

The court was also told about Black's luxury lifestyle, when prosecutors cross-examined defense witness Lee Williams.

They pointed to an interior decorating bill for Black's New York apartment where he spent just sixty days a year. The costs featured Indian white marble reliefs of elephants for $17,710 and a $9,800 diamond vault.

And, in what will come as a disappointment to his many fans, US real estate developer and The Apprentice star Donald Trump will not make his much-hyped appearance as a defense witness.

Attorney Greenspan has reportedly decided the startlingly coiffeured Trump may do his client more harm than good.

Black is charged with racketeering, tax evasion, obstruction of justice and fraud, which include accusations that he abused company perks such as the apartment, a company-paid surprise birthday party for his wife and a trip to Bora Bora on a company-leased jet.

He faces up to 101 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines if found guilty. His co-defendants, Peter Atkinson, John Boultbee and Mark Kipnis, all erstwhile H-Intl executives, face lesser charges. All deny wrongdoing.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff