Former Telegraph Group owner, media personality and author Conrad Black has won fresh hope of early release from jail following a ruling by the Unites States Supreme Court that their convictions relied in part on a controversial corruption law that was too broad in its scope.
America’s highest court issued separate, but related rulings in respect of Mr Black and former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling saying that both men were treated unfairly when Appeal Court judges threw out their attempts to overturn their convictions.
The rulings cast doubt only on certain aspects of the both men’s multiple convictions and stop short of a full acquittal.
Mr. Black, who is currently an inmate at Coleman prison in Florida, was sentenced in 2007 to six and a half years for defrauding shareholders in his Hollinger company out of $6.1m (£3.7m) by attaching a “non-compete” clauses to the sale of newspaper businesses that allegedly siphoned off funds from investors. Mr. Black has vigorously protested his innocence from the beginning.
In the cases against Mr Black and Mr Skilling, prosecutors used a law that allows for conviction if business leaders are found to have robbed investors of “honest services”. The decisions written by Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg rule that this law should only be applied to incidents of bribery and kickback schemes.
Referring to Mr. Black’s case, the ruling concludes: “We vacate the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the case for further proceedings.”