Roger’s Rules

Conrad Black: Justice (finally) prevails

Longtime readers of Roger’s Rules will recall that I have written at least twice about the case of Conrad Black, the former proprietor of the London Telegraph, The Spectator and other plum media properties.

The first time I wrote about Lord Black in this space was in December 2007, while a jury still deliberated over his fate in the monstrously overstated case against him brought by the Justice Department. The second time was on the occasion of his conviction. I called that second piece “Justice Denied.”

But it now looks, after Lord Black has spent some two years in a God-forsaken federal penitentiary, that justice may finally — belatedly — prevail. A few months back, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law used to convict Black — ironically called the “honest services” law — was too vague and ordered a federal appeals court to review the decision.

Well, just yesterday, that Court handed down its decision: Lord Black is to be freed on bail, almost immediately. That’s a step in the right direction. Another few steps should now be taken. The Court should drop its case against Lord Black and (per impossible) the heedless, self-infatuated prosecutor (whom I earlier had compared to St. Just) should be ordered to compensate him for some portion of his losses and privations.

It will be interesting to see how this saga unfolds. I earlier abominated those journalists who, when Conrad Black was the toast of London, would have climbed naked over broken bottles to attend one of his parties but, as soon has he fell afoul of the overly-zealous and vindictive arm of the law, were out, hyena-like, baying for his blood.

Perhaps the most disgusting specimen of the type was the scrofulous hack writer Tom Bower, who jumped into print with a nauseating hatchet job on Lord Black and his wife, the writer Barbara Amiel. It is said that the wheels of justice grind slow but exceedingly fine. One of the many gratifying sides to this welcome development in the case of Conrad Black is the contemplation that Tom Bower is soon to be acquainted with the force of this Biblical observation.