Skurka’s Spin: Conrad Black justified in bemoaning conviction, but U.K. won’t care
Steven Skurka, CTV legal analyst, appears in this file photo.
Published Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:18AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:27AM EDT
Conrad Black is set to conduct his third interview with the British media Friday night on one of the country's renowned satire shows, just days after the previous two turned volatile.
The dubious goal of this recent series of interviews is for Black to generate book sales for A Matter of Principle. He should immediately dismiss his British agent for arranging televised interviews that set him up for a matter of ridicule.
Lord Black has been portrayed as a loutish ruffian unworthy of keeping his seat in the British House of Lords. In one accusatory interrogation on the BBC, host Jeremy Paxman declared to Black that the former media magnate was a convicted fraudster lacking any humility or shame. Jerry Sandusky received fairer treatment when he was interviewed by Bob Costas.
It can hardly be surprising to Black that he is being pilloried in the British press. The acerbic tone was a constant theme during his criminal trial in Chicago. Some of the British journalists covering his case appeared to have a clear agenda to target and diminish him.
Black responded in his interviews that the U.S. justice system was akin to North Korea. The comparison was unfair. While the American justice system is a stacked deck favouring the prosecution and resembles a guilty plea factory, occasionally it manages to reach just and true verdicts. The North Korean system, by contrast, is universally corrupt.
The unfortunate result of Black's stopover book tour in England -- where he went so far as to berate and threatened to pummel one of his interviewers -- is that his disaster-by-the-Thames managed to obscure the fact that his core message is entirely accurate.
It is true, as Black stated, that he never would never would have been prosecuted or convicted on any of the charges he faced in England (or Canada, for that matter). Black's observation that he was falsely convicted of two charges, and that he was largely vindicated by the legal process, was entirely justified.
The only lingering impression of the British public, however, will be that Conrad Black is a sore loser.
Listen to Steven's radio show, Closing Argument, every Sunday afternoon at 4:00ET on NewsTalk 1010. You can also follow him on Twitter at @LegalAnalyst