US justice system is capricious, says Black

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The Independent Online

By Stephen Foley in New York

Lord Black of Crossharbour, the disgraced former proprietor of The Daily Telegraph, has renewed his assault on the American legal system that convicted him of fraud and obstruction of justice, calling it "capricious" and a disguised way of redistributing wealth from the rich.

The peer lashed out in remarks to a magazine, less than two months before he is due to appear in a Chicago court to appeal for a lenient sentence on the four charges on which he was found guilty on Friday 13 July.

Lord Black told Men's Vogue that former directors of his Hollinger media empire had lied in court while under pressure from over-mighty prosecutors. "We have the pursuit of prominent, well–off people who get into the crosshairs of the system essentially as a substitute for a wealth–redistribution policy," he said, "and we have a certain revulsion against extreme proliferations of wealth. Property is seized without compensation. Due process has eroded and the grand jury is no protection at all against capricious prosecutions. It is a difficult time to be a corporate defendant."

Lord Black was convicted on counts that carry a maximum of 35 years in jail. He has hired the appeals lawyer Andrew Frey, who helped the investment banker Frank Quattrone overturn his convictions for obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

"I am hopeful that I will win, sooner or later, the battle for my reputation," Lord Black added.