Mark Steyn writes a brilliant piece on the unjust prosecution of Lord Black. Lord Black probably would have been better off making a deal, but he sought justice. Something the American justice systems seems to often lack these days.
A year or so back, in the lobby of Fox News, I was approached by a gentleman who introduced himself as a member of Conrad Black’s legal team. That doesn’t narrow it down very much. There’ve been so many of them over the years: Canadian, American, young, old, rough and ready, bespoke and urbane, incompetent and . . . well, marginally less incompetent. “Good news,” this one told me. “We’re really pleased with the way things are going on the Supreme Court appeal.”
“That’s great,” I said, forcing a smile and feeling the way the Indian Foreign Minister must have felt when President Ahmadinejad told him not to worry because everything would be hunky-dory in two years’ time when the Twelfth Imam would be showing up. On balance, the Twelfth Imam seemed more likely to ride to Mahmoud’s rescue than the U.S. Supreme Court to Conrad’s. I’d been in Washington a few days earlier and various legal “experts” had derided Black’s SCOTUS appeal as a pathetic but characteristically self-aggrandizing last roll of the dice that was bound to come up snake eyes.
The federal justice system is a bit like one of those unmanned drones President Obama is so fond of using on the unfortunate villagers of Waziristan. Once it’s locked on to you and your coordinates are in the system, it’s hard to get it called off. Three years ago, during his trial in Chicago, I suggested to the defendant he’d be better off saving his gazillions in legal fees and instead climbing under the tarp in the bed of my truck and letting me drive him over the minimally enforced Pittsburg-La Patrie border crossing to Quebec and thence by fishing boat to a remote landing strip on Miquelon where a waiting plane could spirit him somewhere beyond the reach of the U.S. Attorney. Estimated cost: about a thousandth of what he’d spent on lawyers to date. P’shaw, scoffed Conrad, or ejaculations to that effect. He was not a fugitive but an innocent man, and eventually he would be vindicated by the justice system of this great republic.