The Canadian-born Black, along with his business partner F. David Radler, was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for diverting proceeds from newspaper sales into his own pockets when the money should have gone to investors of Hollinger International Inc., his media empire that included the Sun-Times and The Daily Telegraph of London.
Black was released on bond in 2010 to pursue an appeal that ended up shortening his sentence to about three years. A former member of the British House of Lords, Black was deported from the United States and returned to his Toronto estate after he completed his full sentence in 2012.
To settle the federal charges, Black was ordered the next year to pay $4.1 million in restitution to Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corp., an operation controlling Hollinger’s successor company, Sun-Times Media Group. STMG, in the aftermath of the Black scandal, filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and sold the Sun-Times and its other newspapers.
The settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission also banned Black from serving as a director of a U.S. company.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Black “has made tremendous contributions to business, and to political and historical thought.”
Black’s pardon comes nearly a year to the day after he published a glowing book titled “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”
Jeffrey Cramer, a former assistant U.S. attorney who helped prosecute Black, said it “didn’t hurt” that Black wrote a book praising Trump.
“With all the people who have been convicted and deserve some consideration, this president decides to show mercy on a millionaire who was convicted of defrauding investors and obstructing justice,” Cramer wrote in a text message to the Sun-Times. “The boys in cell block D should pen a favorable book or poem about the president. That seems to be the ticket to freedom.”
Cramer also noted the White House reportedly heard about Black from high-profile individuals like Elton John, Rush Limbaugh and William F. Buckley Jr. Cramer said, “the president based this decision upon the word of a singer, a conservative pundit, and someone who has been dead for 11 years. That is some impressive legal analysis by WH counsel.”
Contributing: Jon Seidel, Nader Issa, Associated Press