Conrad Black is the founder of the National Post. From 1996 to 2000, he was chairman of the Southam Company, Canada's leading newspaper company. Mr. Black is also a writer and commentator, the author of Render Unto Caesar (the life of Maurice Duplessis), the autobiographical A Life in Progress, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Champion of Freedom, and numerous articles in the National Interest, Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, and many other publications. He was a member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Meetings for twenty years, a member of the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Americas Society (New York), and remains a member of the Trilateral Commission, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London), and a trustee of the Hudson Institute (Washington). He is a life peer of the United Kingdom (Lord Black of Crossharbour, since 2001), a member of the Privy Council and Officer of the Order of Canada, and a knight of the Holy See. He has been a director of many prominent companies, including Brascan, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, CanWest, and Sotheby's.
Black was convicted in Illinois U.S. District Court on 13 July 2007 and sentenced to serve 78 months in federal prison, pay Hollinger $6.1 million, in addition to a fine of $125,000.
Black was found guilty of diverting funds for personal benefit from money due Hollinger International when the company sold certain publishing assets and other irregularities. For example, in 2000, in an illegal and surreptitious arrangement that came to be known as the "Lerner Exchange," Black acquired Chicago's Lerner Newspapers and sold it to Hollinger. He also obstructed justice by taking possession of documents to which he was not entitled. The case is still under appeal.
The Supreme Court of the United States heard an appeal of his case on 8 December 2009 and rendered a decision in June 2010. Black's application for bail was rejected by both the Supreme Court and the US District Court judge who sentenced him.
On June 24, 2010, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the definition of "honest services" fraud used in the trial judge's charge to the jury in Black's case was too broad and ordered the Illinois appeal court to review three fraud convictions against Black in light of the Supreme Court's new definition. The appeal court will review Black's case and determine whether his fraud convictions will stand or if there should be a new trial. The jailed former media baron's obstruction of justice conviction, for which he is serving a concurrent 6 ½ year sentence, remains in place. Black's lawyers filed an application for bail pending the appeal court's review. Prosecutors contested Black's bail request arguing in court papers that Black's trial jury had proof that Black committed fraud. He was granted bail on July 19, 2010 by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and will be released on a $2 million unsecured bond put up by conservative philanthropist Roger Hertog. Black has been released from custody and has ordered to remain on bail in the continental United States until at least August 16 when his bail hearing shall resume, and the same day by which Black and the prosecution have been ordered by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to submit written arguments for that court's review of his case.