A judge ordered the former media magnate to begin serving his six-and-a-half-year sentence Monday and remain incarcerated while pursuing his appeal after being convicted of defrauding the shareholders of his Hollinger International Inc. newspaper empire.
Black's appeal lawyer Andrew Frey told The Canadian Press he was "surprised and disappointed'' by the decision.
"Black has a much longer sentence and therefore even if he partially wins, the court feels it's unlikely that the sentence will be shorter than the time it would take to decide the appeal,'' Frey said.
Frey said he spoke with Black as soon as the ruling came down Thursday afternoon and his client was doing "as well as can be expected under the circumstances.''
Black himself was not immediately available for comments and prosecutors declined to comment on the ruling.
According to CTV legal analyst Steven Skurka, the author of "Tilted: The Trial of Conrad Black," his lawyers would have had to prove he would likely succeed in an appeal if he was to earn bail for the period before his case came back to the courts.
"Very few people get bail pending appeal in an American courtroom," Skurka told CTV Newsnet on Thursday.
However, Black's two co-defendents, Peter Atkinson and John Boultbee, will remain free on bond.
The judge at the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was unlikely an appeals court would overturn the obstruction of justice charge that applied to Black only, not Atkinson or Boultbee. Black was caught removing boxes of documents from his Toronto office despite a court order sealing the premises.
The Court of Appeals said that because he was sentenced to 78 months for that charge alone that he should remain in jail pending his appeal, which would likely arrive in much less time.
The prison where Black will serve his sentence holds about 2,000 inmates and is one hour from his Palm Beach mansion, said Skurka.
"Clearly his family and Barbara Amiel will be able to visit him regularly," he said. "But it's a prison. You can talk about minimum security, maximum security... It's a horrible lifestyle."
Only 6 1/2 years, and he still gets to appeal! Did he ever pay the stolen money back? I guess not, otherwise he wouldn't have to go to jail of course.
At least some justice was done!