He Will Keep His Counsel
All of the former prosecution witnesses acquitted themselves rather poorly in the sense that their halting admissions of lack of adequate oversight in the prosecution of their positions on the board of Hollinger, reflected poorly on their business acumen, their accountability, their assent of dodgy practices, by default. None of them actually appear to have been able to pierce the armour of Lord Black's overconfident veneer and that of his team of lawyers.
It was, in the end, left to Conrad Black himself to give the news media, the public, and the jury itself pause for reflection. His unrepentant boastfulness, his too-obvious lack of restraint in trumpeting his version of his own 'innocence' of the criminal charges brought against him
has had the impact of self-servicing - in the sense that he has placed himself on a serving board with an apple in his mouth.
It was also the revelations of his disdain for underlings, the dismissive and haughty language he used to dust complaints of shareholders off his shoulders like irritating dandruff that has done him no good at all in the minds of those jurors whose final determination will reveal his future. In fact, it is his own words read back to the jury through emails and notes and recorded conversations - many of which were secured through boxes of trial-related materials he was himself seen on tape unlawfully spiriting away - that have tripped him up.
His carefree acquisition of shareholders' profits to enhance his luxurious style of living, his penchant for carrying off non-compete payments which should rightfully have enhanced the shareholders' bottom line have all come back to haunt him through the mouths of witnesses for the prosecution, from carefully retained receipts, from repeated missives Lord Black sent to his colleagues.
Like the one he sent to his trial co-defendant Peter Atkinson, on January 17, 2003, referring to public companies as "vehicles for extracting money, as in the non-competes". His unalloyed sense of entitlement, his grand illusions of self-worth are what will, in the final analysis, trap him. Most certainly, guilty as charged.
And, perhaps, then some.
Labels: Human Fallibility