Conrad Black to make freedom plea

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The Independent US

Conrad Black, the disgraced media tycoon convicted of fraud and obstructing justice, is due to find out today if he must return to jail in the US to serve some or all of the remaining four years of his prison term.

The Canadian-born former proprietor of The Daily Telegraph, a global newspaper baron whose establishment connections won him a seat in the House of Lords, will make an impassioned plea to a Chicago judge, saying he should get credit for being a model prisoner to date, and that he and his family have been punished enough.

Black was freed part-way through his six-and-a-half-year prison sentence after a US Supreme Court ruling that voided two of his three fraud convictions. It did not overturn the conviction for obstructing justice.

Black lost his media empire when outside investors accused him of running a "corporate kleptocracy" in which he and his business partners enriched themselves at shareholders' expense.

In submissions before today's resentencing hearing, Black's lawyers said he had won the respect of fellow prisoners, and taken a role in tutoring many of them for exams. Just how many was the subject of a bitter exchange of letters with prosecutors, who also submitted evidence from inside prison suggesting Black had treated fellow inmates like "servants", getting them to clean and iron for him.

Black's defence team also highlights his worsening health, and that of his wife, Barbara Amiel.

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