Whoa! The United States Supreme Court’s recent ruling may not have changed the government’s strategy in its case against former governor Rod Blagojevich but it has created a tsunami in a big government win that has now been jeopardized against the former owner of the Chicago Sun Times, Conrad Black.
Conrad Black won his request for bail Monday while a federal appeals court reviews whether to overturn his 2007 fraud conviction related to his one-time control of Hollinger International Inc., the former parent of the Chicago Sun-Times.
It is not clear when Black will be released from prison. He has been in federal custody in Florida for more than two years, serving a 78-month sentence for three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.
The federal appeals court in Chicago said U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve will have to set the terms of Black’s bail. St. Eve presided over Black’s trial in Chicago.
The appellate court granted bail after the U.S. Supreme Court last month found errors in the instructions given to the jury during Black’s trial. Black had challenged his conviction on the validity of the jury instructions that were based “honest-services” fraud.
We decided in Skilling that §1346, properly confined,criminalizes only schemes to defraud that involve bribes or kickbacks. See ante, p. __. That holding renders thehonest-services instructions given in this case incorrect
The Supreme Court said that honest-services fraud was so vague that it was impossible for a person to even realize they were committing a crime. On the other hand it could be a nod to the realization that numerous corporate entities would find themselves prosecuted.