The portrait of Conrad Black painted in a defence document is distinctly at odds with the disgraced media tycoon’s public persona.
Conrad Black is a deeply spiritual man who loved his parents, cared for his children, helped save Canada and is gracious, kind, sincere, generous, modest and humble toward everyone he meets.
That’s the portrait his lawyers offered to a Chicago court yesterday in a 53-page document that argued the former media baron played a minor role in the fraud at Hollinger International Inc. and has suffered so much already he should receive, at most, a two-year jail sentence.
Lord Black, 63, “is a person with a deep reservoir of kindness and generosity consistently exhibited to people of all stations in life and an individual who has made significant contributions to society,” the filing says. “He has watched his family suffer untold agonies at the hands of the savage and reckless press.”
His lawyers have gathered roughly 100 letters of support from a variety of people including former prime minister Brian Mulroney, rock star Elton John, broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, Nobel Prize winner John Polanyi as well as business tycoons Paul Desmarais, Gerald Schwartz and his wife Heather Reisman.
Several current and former journalists have also sent letters including Maclean’s columnist Mark Steyn, former Globe and Mail editor-in-chief William Thorsell, CBC reporter Brian Stewart, U.S. commentator William F. Buckley and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman.
Lord Black’s legacy “has touched many individual lives and has made positive contributions on a global scale,” the filing says. It adds that Lord Black’s real persona was a far cry from the fictional portrayal of him in the media as a “money hungry elitist whose highest ambition was social advancement in the upper echelons of New York and London society.”
So he’s not money-hungry? Not an elitist? Not driven to hobnob with the social elites of London and New York?
These are indeed stunning revelations! :)
I don’t believe the character references involved anyone caught up in one of the numerous downsizings he imposed on his properties, nor the union activists he successfully crushed at the Calgary Herald.
This post I made at the time of Black’s conviction — Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty — gives some of my views on His Blackness. This post looking back on the Leader-Post downsizing also provides some perspective.
Here’s a link to the defence filing on Black.
I found snippet in the filing somewhat amusing:
He treated older writers as well as the disabled and infirm with courtesy respect and dignity.