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Black Bail Hearing Set for Tomorrow by Trial Judge

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July 20 (Bloomberg) -- Conrad Black, the former Hollinger International Inc. chairman serving a 6 1/2 year federal prison sentence for fraud, may be set free on bail as soon as tomorrow.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve in Chicago, who presided over the four-month 2007 jury trial that ended with the convictions of Black, 65, and three other men, scheduled a bail hearing for tomorrow, according to a court docket entry today.

A federal appeals court yesterday granted Black’s petition for bail, leaving the terms to St. Eve. The Chicago-based court’s ruling followed a U.S. Supreme Court decision last month narrowing the scope of a law relied upon by prosecutors in their case against him.

“Conrad will remain in Coleman until the court orders terms and the order is processed,” Black’s appellate attorney, Miguel A. Estrada, said today in an e-mail, referring to the low-security Coleman Federal Correctional Institution in Florida where Black has been held since March 2008.

While Black will not appear before St. Eve tomorrow, Estrada said he will, together with Chicago criminal defense lawyer Marc Martin, who teamed with co-counsel Edward Gensen and Edward Greenspan at the executive’s trial.

The case was prosecuted by the office of Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. His spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to comment on St. Eve’s scheduling order.

Sun-Times

While Black headed Hollinger, it was the world’s third-largest publisher of English language newspapers. The Chicago-based company is now known as the Sun-Times Media Group Inc.

Black and his fellow executives were convicted of stealing $6.1 million from the company as they engineered its sale of $3 billion in assets from 1998 to 2001.

Gary Miller, the public information officer at the prison in Coleman, said that they have not received release instructions yet for Conrad Black and did not expect them until after Wednesday’s bail hearing.

“We are sitting in limbo until we receive the release order information,” the spokesman said. Black must “meet the conditions of the bond, and then we have to verify the order.”

Miller said media were already lined up outside the prison in anticipation where the heat index is forecast to exceed 100 degrees today.

The trial court case is U.S. v. Black, 05-cr-727, in the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago). The appellate case is U.S. v. Black, 07-4080, U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (Chicago).

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew M. Harris in Chicago at aharris16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this report: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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