Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rex on Lord Black

Rex admires Lord Black's relentless pursuit of justice, as do I.

Rex Murphy: A Dickensian hero in the age of Enron

Rex Murphy July 24, 2010 – 10:43 am

It does not have quite the redemptive brio (or the props) of the Papillon story — a dive off the murderously steep cliffs of Devil’s Island with a sack of coconuts for a raft — but some brio there is, and not inconsiderable, in Conrad Black’s release on bail from a Florida penitentiary a mere third through his judicially assigned six-and-a-half year stay.

There was and is something extraordinary in Mr. Black’s relentless defiance of the charges placed against him, against the atmospherics of the prosecution’s case, and a system of U.S. law that places such leverage in the hands of secondary players, or those it chooses to regard as secondary, in its addiction to plea bargaining. It is that unbroken persistence which allows a reference to the Papillon story. Even those who have no time for Conrad Black — and for good or ill, they are a multitude — have to admit a glimpse of something close to heroic in the stamina and (relative) stoicism with which he has resisted and combatted the assaults on his career and reputation.

Further, when even one of his former U.S. prosecutors talks of admiring “the moxie and tenacity of this guy,” and of how Black’s determination is “impressive, no matter how you look at it,” I think it’s more than clear that the script on the life and varied times of Conrad Black is still very much — to borrow a phrase of his own — a work “in progress.” There are turns in the plot yet to come. They who glutted themselves on the story of his utter and irremediable ruin have dined unwisely, too early and too eagerly. With his front-page article in Thursday’s National Post ( “I hope Black’s enemies like crow”), Terence Corcoran has correctly identified the next item on the buffet for that crowd.

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