Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Black's Last Days of Freedom; Tender Moment: Conrad Black and His Wife Barbara Amiel at the Court in Chicago after He Was Sentenced. He Will Have to Do Menial Work in Prison for 5p to 20p an Hour

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Black's Last Days of Freedom; Tender Moment: Conrad Black and His Wife Barbara Amiel at the Court in Chicago after He Was Sentenced. He Will Have to Do Menial Work in Prison for 5p to 20p an Hour

Article excerpt

Byline: VALENTINE LOW

CONRAD BLACK was today enjoying his last days of freedom before servinga six-and-a-half-year sentence in a tough federal prison.

The disgraced former media baron was allowed to walk away from the court afteryesterday's sentencing but will have to report to prison on 3 March.

His lawyers said they would seek a court order allowing him to remain free onbond indefinitely pending the appeal against his conviction to a higher court.

But one expert said today any appeal would be bound to fail. Black's biographerTom Bower said: "I don't think he has a chance. He has not said what thegrounds for appeal would be. There was no misdirection of the jury, and thereis no claim that the judge wrongfully allowed any evidence.

She was scrupulously fair." It remained unclear today where he would serve hissentence. Black, who was convicted in July of one count of obstructing justiceand three counts of fraud, originally asked to go to Fort Eglin prison inFlorida, one of the cushiest jails in the US system, but after the judge agreedto his request it emerged that the prison has been closed since it was damagedby a hurricane last year.

Even though he is a white-collar criminal, Black will still have to go to areal prison, behind bars, sharing a cell or dormitory with other criminals.

According to one lawyer, the likely alternatives include Coleman correctionalinstitute near Orlando, which boasts an on-site furniture factory, orTallahassee prison, which offers classes in culinary arts and horticulture.

There the man once famed for the extravagance of his lifestyle will have tolearn the "inmate code", according to a former prison officer who now teachescriminology at the University of Baltimore.

Jeffrey Ian Ross said: "Don't rat on anyone else, keep to yourself, mind yourown business, watch what you say. Be loyal to convicts as a group, keep yourcool, always be tough and pay your debts." Black, like most inmates, wouldprobably be expected to work, earning between 12 and 40 cents an hour (5-20p)for jobs such as preparing food, plumbing, cleaning or, if he is very lucky,sorting books in the prison library. …

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