Legal Trouble for Black’s Wife
Posted Jul 16, 2007 10:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Since Conrad Black’s trial began on March 20, his wife has been a constant presence in the courtroom. Now ,as she copes with his conviction for mail fraud and obstruction of justice, she may need to gear up for her own legal troubles.
Barbara Amiel Black, a Canadian journalist and socialite, was a member of the board and vice president for editorial at media company Hollinger International, the New York Times reports. Her duties at the company that her husband led were “nothing more than euphemisms for ordinary activities such as reading the newspaper, having lunch, and chatting with her husband about current events,” an internal investigation found.
Still, as a company director, Barbara Amiel faces civil litigation stemming from the scandal, the newspaper says. And prosecutors may seek forfeiture of a $2.6 million ring and other gifts that Black bought his wife before the trial, according to the Times..
Barbara Amiel was mentioned more than once during the trial as prosecutors focused on the couple’s lavish lifestyle. They contended that Hollinger improperly paid for the couple’s trip to Bora Bora and for Barbara Amiel’s surprise birthday party.
But the jury acquitted Black on charges he misused company perks. Instead, Black was convicted for pocketing $2.9 million in noncompete payments that should have gone Hollinger, the Chicago Tribune reports. He could face as many as 35 years in prison and loss of his remaining fortune to legal fees, forfeiture and civil suits.
Black grew up in wealth under the wing of a strong-willed father. He "evolved into a supremely confident fellow who played by his own rules and wasn't afraid to flout the powers-that-be," a profile in the Chicago Tribune says.