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Convicted newspaper baron Conrad Black leaves the federal building in Chicago Monday, Dec. 10, 2007, after sentencing in his racketeering and fraud trial. Black, convicted July 13 of swindling the Hollinger International newspaper empire he once ran out of millions of dollars, was sentenced to 78 months in prison.

Jerry Lia/Jerry Lia/AP Photo

Conrad Black is asking to be released on bail pending a review of his criminal convictions by an Appeal Court.

Lawyers for Lord Black filed the application on Tuesday a couple of weeks after the United States Supreme Court redefined a key legal theory prosecutors used to convict him.

In its ruling the Supreme Court said that based on its new definition of "honest services" the jury in Lord Black's case received improper instructions. The high court ordered an appeal court in Illinois to review Lord Black's case and determine whether it should allow the convictions to stand or order a new trial.

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Lord Black's lawyer, Miguel Estrada, argued in court filings that the Supreme Court has raised "a substantial question of law" that is a key criterion in granting bail. He added that there is no risk that Lord Black will flee or pose a danger to the community.

Lord Black and three other former executives of Chicago-based Hollinger International Inc. were convicted of fraud in 2007 over the misappropriation of $6.1-million (U.S.). Lord Black was also convicted of obstruction of justice. He is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence in a Florida prison.

The same appeal court rejected Lord Black's first appeal of his conviction in 2008. That court also refused to grant Lord Black bail while he appealed his case further.

Mr. Estrada argued in court filings Tuesday that the circumstances surrounding Lord Black's request for bail "differ quite substantially from those that existed when [the appeal court]denied [Lord Black's]application for bail pending his original appeal."

"The Supreme Court has now unanimously ruled that a violation affecting Mr. Black's Sixth Amendment just trial right occurred," he added.

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More

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