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Conrad Black, the Canadian-born Brit who started the National Post was given a full pardon Wednesday for fraud and obstruction of justice convictions that sent the former newspaper titan to a Florida prison for 3-1/2 years.
According to a White House statement, U.S. President Donald Trump granted “Executive Clemency” to the 74-year-old who was released in 2012, deported from the United States and has since resided in Canada.
Last night Black, a friend of Trump’s, tweeted that he received the news from POTUS personally:
In 2007, Black was found guilty of arranging payoffs to himself and two others via non-compete clauses and real estate deals as Hollinger International, the newspaper conglomerate Black started, was selling off papers.
At the time of the alleged crimes, Black contended that Hollinger was in the throes of a hostile takeover and he and co-conspirators were being pushed out the door and did nothing wrong. Black has always maintained his innocence, yet the case continued to dog him.
In 2013 the Ontario Securities Commission reopened investigations into Hollinger dealings that resulted in a permanent ban on Black holding any directorship or officer position with a publicly traded company in the province.
At Black’s apex, the stable of newspapers under Hollinger’s ownership included The Jerusalem Post, Chicago Sun-Times and the UK’s Daily Telegraph. But for Canada, The National Post would be Black’s indelible stamp on the media landscape.
First published on October 27 of 1998, The Post was Black’s pre-social media foray into breaking what he believed was a too-cozy relationship between politics and the establishment press when internet news was in its embryonic phase.
In addition to precipitating a newspaper war between The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and others, the National Post also provided Black and his more-conservative editorial a platform to criticize then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his Liberal government.
It was criticism so relentless that according to lore, Chrétien’s wife Aline banned the Post from 24 Sussex because it enraged her husband.
Black was also a member of the Conservative side in the British House of Lords after receiving a life peerage in 2001 and granted the title Baron Black of Crossharbour. Black has sat as a non-affiliated member since his conviction.
Also a prolific writer of Canadian and American history, Black has produced tomes on former presidents Nixon and FDR and more recently, wrote a book entitled Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.
WATCH: Conrad talking Trump with Steve Paikin on TVO
“Lord Black’s case has attracted broad support from many high-profile individuals who have vigorously vouched for his exceptional character,” the White House said in a statement announcing the pardon.