You may recall that the United States Supreme Court struck down the law on “honest services fraud” and sent Lord Black’s case back to the Appeal Court in Chicago for reconsideration, based on their analysis that the law was unconstitutional for vagueness and that “honest services fraud” required evidence of bribes or kickbacks.
Black had his day in Court where his lawyer argued that the fraud convictions should be set aside as should Black’s conviction for obstruction of justice. (removing boxes of documents from his office that were relevant to the fraud charges)
Several days ago the Court of Appeal delivered their judgment wherein they vacated Black’s two convictions for “honest services fraud”, but refused to vacate a separate fraud conviction, that was not “honest services fraud”, and upheld the obstruction conviction. The three Judges ordered that Black be re-sentenced by the original trial judge, taking into account the absence of the “honest services fraud” convictions.
Black’s counsel will now review the Court’s Reasons and determine if a further appeal should be launched on the two remaining convictions. The prosecutors could also decide
to retry Black on the conduct that resulted in the “honest fraud convictions” by proving these counts are capable of being characterized as pecuniary fraud. It is noteworthy that the Appeal Judges suggested in their Reasons that the State drop the matter in light of the already protracted litigation and the State’s dwindling finances.
But, the big question is “Will Conrad Black go back to jail or will the Court free him based on time served?” Black has already served two years of his six and a half year sentence.
State lawyers have been zealous with respect to their prosecution of Lord Black’s alleged criminal behavior and there is no reason to expect that they will now let their guard down. Black is in for another battle, which will add to his now $40 million tab for legal fees. Who knows how much this has cost the State of Illinois?
The saga continues.