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Conrad Black's Day Of Reckoning Pushed Back To Dec. 10.

Fallen newspaper baron Conrad Black can cool his heels in Palm Beach, Fla., for a few more days, after a federal judge's decision on Thursday to push his sentencing date back from Nov. 30 to Dec. 10.

Black's sentencing-phase attorney, Jeffrey Steinback, had asked U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve to give him more time to review the pre-sentencing report on the former Hollinger International chairman's conviction on three mail counts of fraud and one of obstruction of justice in the alleged "looting" of the Chicago Sun-Times parent company, now know as Sun-Times Media Group.

At the request of federal prosecutors, St. Eve also pushed back the sentencing of former Black lieutenant and Sun-Times Publisher F. David Radler from Dec. 10 to Dec. 17. Radler reached a plea bargain with the feds in which he is to be sentenced to 29 months in jail, probably to be served in his native Canada, in exchange for a guilty plea to a single count of mail fraud and his testimony, earlier this year, as the star witness against Black.

Neither Black nor Radler appeared at the hearing in the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago.

Black, 63, faces a possible sentence ranging from 15 to 20 years. He has been free on bond, but restricted to either the Chicago region or Palm Beach, Fla., where he has a mansion.

Judge St. Eve said she may "stagger" the sentences of Black and his three co-defendants, former Hollinger executives Peter Atkinson, John "Jack" Boultbee, and Mark Kipnis -- and if she does, Black will be sentenced first. His co-defendants were convicted of three counts of mail fraud, although St. Eve later threw out one count against Kipnis.

St. Eve also set Nov. 28 as the sentencing date for Ravelston Corp., which pleaded guilty to one count of fraud in March. Toronto-based Ravelston, which is bankrupt, was one of the holding companies Black used in the complex network that ran a newspaper empire that once stretched on three continents.

On Wednesday, an Andy Warhol portrait of Black sold at auction for $289,000. In a settlement of a dispute over four Warhol silk-screens of Black, between Black and the Canadian court-appointed receiver for Ravelston, the proceeds of this auction will go to Ravelston. Black will be allowed to buy one of the portraits for the average selling price of two silk-screens that are being auctioned. The fourth portait was donated to a Vancouver museum.

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Comment:Conrad Black's Day Of Reckoning Pushed Back To Dec. 10.
Author:Fitzgerald, Mark
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 2007
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