'I never ask for mercy and seek no one's sympathy. I would never, as was once needlessly feared in this court, be a fugitive from justice in this country, only a seeker of it'.
Conrad Black, in his statement to the court, June 24, 2011.
In 1993, Conrad Black was the proprietor of London's Daily Telegraph and the head of one of the world's largest newspaper groups. He completed a memoir in 1992, A Life in Progress, and 'great prospects beckoned'. In 2004, he was fired as chairman of Hollinger International after he and his associates were accused of fraud. Here, for the first time, Black describes his indictment, four-month trial in Chicago, partial conviction, imprisonment, and largely successful appeal.
In this unflinchingly revealing and superbly written memoir, Black writes without reserve about the prosecutors who mounted a campaign to destroy him and the journalists who presumed he was guilty. Fascinating people fill these pages, from prime ministers and presidents to the social, legal, and media elite, among them: Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Jean Chrétien, Rupert Murdoch, Izzy Asper, Richard Perle, Norman Podhoretz, Eddie Greenspan, Alan Dershowitz, and Henry Kissinger.
Woven throughout are Black's views on big themes: politics, corporate governance, and the U.S. justice system. He is candid about highly personal subjects, including his friendships - with those who have supported and those who have betrayed him - his Roman Catholic faith, and his marriage to Barbara Amiel. And he writes about his complex relations with Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, and in particular the blow he has suffered at the hands of that nation.
In this extraordinary book, Black maintains his innocence and recounts what he describes as 'the fight of and for my life'. A Matter of Principle is a riveting memoir and a scathing account of a flawed justice system.
About the Author
Conrad Black is the author of critically acclaimed biographies of Maurice Duplessis, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Richard Nixon. The former head of the Argus and Hollinger corporate groups and of London's Telegraph newspapers, Black is also the founder of Canada's National Post. For some years he has been a columnist there and at the National Review Online (New York). Black has been a member of the British House of Lords since 2001.
In 2005, Black was accused of a total of 17 charges of criminal corporate misconduct in the United States, and prosecutors sought life imprisonment and fines and restitution totalling $140m. After six years, all the charges were either abandoned, rejected by jurors, or in the case of four convictions, vacated unanimously by the United States Supreme Court. On the original convictions, he was sentenced to imprisonment for 78 months and restitution of $6.1m. After 29 months in federal prison, he was released on bail, but the appellate panel whose findings had been vacated by the high court restored two counts when the case was remanded back to it. On June 24, 2011, Black was resentenced to a further seven and a half months in prison and 90% of his fine was restored to him. Conrad Black has never ceased to assert his innocence.