Black Requests Bail Pending a Decision on Federal Honest Services Fraud Case

As we discussed in this post, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear media mogul Conrad Black’s appeal regarding whether the honest services fraud statute applies in a purely private setting where the defendant’s conduct risks no foreseeable harm to the putative victims. We are very interested in the outcome of this case because it has the potential to change the law in the Eleventh Circuit (the court that hears federal criminal appeals from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.) Unfortunately, we will have to wait a while. The appeal will not be heard until after the beginning of the Court’s new term this fall, likely as late as November or December.

As reported over at the SCOTUS Blog, Black has requested bail during the time his appeal is pending. He has served 15 months of a 78-month prison sentence and, if bail is denied, will have served about two years before the Justices decide his case. If his conviction is reversed, those are several months he cannot get back. His lawyers also argue that he should be released from prison in the meantime because his co-defendant, John Boultbee, has been released on a $500,000 bond and allowed to return to Canada to await the Supreme Court’s decision.

You can read Black’s application here.