CHICAGO: It's a time-honored battle tactic: identify the enemy's standard-bearer and cut him down. As F David Radler (former aide de camp to Lord Conrad Black, and now star prosecution witness in the latter's trial) learned the hard way Monday.

Whether or not Black's lead lawyer, Edward 'Fast Eddie' Greenspan (pictured), actually succeeded in cutting the ground from beneath Radler's feet will not be known until the dust of battle settles and the jury delivers its verdict in three to four weeks' time.

But Greenspan - a renowned Canadian legal brawler, defending in this case by special federal dispensation - certainly bloodied the hapless Radler during several long encounters.

Radler, originally a co-defendant with Black and others, plead guilty after striking a plea bargain with prosecutors, under which he is giving evidence for the prosecution in return for just 29-months incarceration in, it is rumoured, a prison worthy of five stars in The Good Jail Guide.

His Lordship, on the other hand, faces a notional 100 years imprisonment plus fines and reparations running to many millions of dollars.

Under Fast Eddie's onslaught, Radler appeared to retract his earlier admission that he had lied to Hollinger International's special committee set up in 2003 to investigate allegations of fraud among its executives.

Reminded by Greenspan that he had admitting lying to the committee, Radler parried: "I had no access to those statements."

"It's apparent that you're just a liar," said Greenspan. "It's easy for you to lie, is it not?"

"I don't believe I have to answer that question," Radler told the court.

Greenspan also called into question Radler's testimony about phone calls between himself and Black between 1999-2000, in which the latter allegedly set out his plans to make 'non-compete' payments to a company he [Black] controlled.

But under pressure Radler conceded that the only proof he had of these calls was his own recollection.

Greenspan: "You cannot produce a single document that confirms this. Correct?"

Radler: "That's correct."

Greenspan: "And you're a self-confessed liar, correct?"

Radler: "I told lies at times, yes."

Black and his co-defendants - former Hollinger executives Jack Boultbee, Peter Atkinson and Mark Kipnis - are accused of stealing $60 million in "non-compete" payments over several years.

Data sourced from BBC Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff