Donald Trump issues pardon for Conrad Black

Donald Trump issues pardon for Conrad Black

President Donald Trump has issued a full pardon for Conrad Black, a former media mogul who was convicted on counts of wire fraud and obstruction of justice and who also wrote a biography that praised the president previous year.

Conrad Black's global media empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain's Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post.

Black, 74, spent nearly 3½ years in a Florida prison before being released and deported back to Canada.

Black - who gave up his Canadian citizenship when he became a member of Britain's House of Lords - was deported from the USA in 2012 after being released from a Florida prison.

"An entrepreneur and scholar, Lord Black has made tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought", the White House said in a statement.

Black, who has called Trump a friend, published a book previous year praising him, titled "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other".

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Two of the criminal fraud charges were dropped on appeal.

It also said that many high-profile individuals had "vigorously vouched for his exceptional character", including Elton John and former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who served on the board of Hollinger International.

Black describes his "ordeal with the USA justice system" as "never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges", followed with intensity because he was a media owner. He could defend himself against charges of public corruption and risk decades in prison, or he could plead guilty and accept a 33-month sentence. He spent more than three years in prison.

In 2015, Black wrote a National Review essay titled "Trump Is the Good Guy". She notes that Black is the author of biographies on presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, though she does not mention the Trump biography.

Critics have accused Mr Trump of using his powers of pardon to address what he believes are political wrongs. The White House said the experience "changed his life" and formed his later career as a conservative advocate for criminal justice revisions, including with the First Step Act, the criminal justice bill Trump signed into law past year. But it was Trump on the line, apparently telling Black that the full pardon would "expunge the bad wrap" he got.

Mr Black said President Trump had called him to say that he would be granted a full pardon, that his conviction was "unjust" and that he "should never been charged".

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