Conrad Black jury deadlocked

11-07-2007

Conrad Black jury deadlocked
The jury in the American fraud trial of former media mogul Conrad Black is to resume deliberations today after telling a Chicago court it had been unable to reach a unanimous verdict in the case.

Lord Black and three of his past colleagues are accused of stealing $60 million (£29.5 million) from shareholders of Hollinger International, the company which ran the British peer's global media empire.

Canadian-born Black and his co-defendants face various charges of fraud, filing false tax returns and racketeering.

But the 12-member jury charged with determining their fate yesterday told the US district court in a note: "We have discussed and deliberated on all the evidence and are still unable to reach a unanimous verdict on one or more counts."

The jurors made the statement after nine days of deliberation which followed almost 12 weeks of testimony heard during the trial.

However Judge Amy St Eve urged them to resolve their differences, telling them that they should make "every reasonable effort to reach a verdict".

"Do not hesitate to re-examine your own views and change your opinion if you come to believe it is wrong. But you should not surrender your honest beliefs about the weight or effect of evidence solely because of the opinions of your fellow jurors or for the purpose of returning a unanimous verdict," she reminded jurors.

The judge also told the court that she had sent juries back two or three times in other cases to continue considering verdicts.

Lord Black, a member of the House of Lords, could face several years in prison if he is found guilty of the charges against him.

Under his chairmanship Hollinger International owned several key titles, including Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper. The name of the company has since been changed to Sun-Times News Group.



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