Conrad Black: Facing Fraud Trial, About to Publish Book on Nixon

Historians in the News

When Conrad M. Black pleaded not guilty to criminal fraud charges in December 2005, a federal court in Chicago granted his request that he be defended by Edward L. Greenspan, one of the most famous criminal defense lawyers in Canada, where he is known by the nickname Fast Eddie.

But the court made Mr. Black sign a waiver acknowledging that he understood that his lawyer, for all his renown in Canada, does not know American law.

If he loses, Mr. Black, who faces more than 90 years in jail if convicted, cannot appeal on the grounds that it was his lawyer’s fault.

“I love that I’ve been certified as stupid by the Illinois judge,” said Mr. Greenspan, who plans to frame a copy of the court document and hang it in his law office here. “So stupid,” he added, “that no matter how incompetent I might be, Conrad can’t rely on it.”

The waiver is just one of the elements that seem to ensure that the case of United States of America v. Conrad M. Black et al., which begins on Wednesday in federal court in Chicago, is going to be unusual....

In the midst of what is expected to be a three- or four-month trail, Mr. Black is also publishing a biography of Richard M. Nixon — his fourth book — and is expected, if time allows, to hold something of a promotional tour in the midst of the trial....

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