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Conrad Black opens up to Peter Mansbridge (on why he’s like a medieval leper)

(Image: United States Marshals Service)

Now that Conrad Black has been granted a one-year temporary residence permit and is back home in Toronto, he’s followed through on one of the items on his post-incarceration itinerary: a proper sit-down with CBC News anchor Peter Mansbridge. Baron Black of Crossharbour’s appearance on The National last night was chock full of statements that could only come from the former media mogul: he was arch, unrepentant and even a little funny. Too bad it’s the only proper interview Black’s promised to the Canadian press.

A roundup of the Black’s best lines:

• Now that he’s served time, Black would like to get past his prison conviction. But there’s a “constant sadistic reference to my alleged status” that’s downright “un-Canadian.” He compared his situation to being “stigmatized for life … like a medieval leper, with bells on my head to warn the unsuspecting of the approach of moral taint and turpitude.”

• While Black served a 42-month sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice in a Florida prison, he maintains it was a wrongful conviction. He lost his trademark verbosity when he told Mansbridge plainly: “I was shafted.”

• Chuckling, Black also  described how he escaped the media glare after his discharge: “this tremendous motorcade, as if they were escorting the president or something, took off with multi-coloured lights and outriders and sirens and everything in that grandiose way.” The press followed the police cars, allowing Black to get away unnoticed in an unassuming white Chevrolet. “I can’t say I disapproved of it,“ he told Mansbridge.

• Black may apply reapply for Canadian citzenship, provided there’s no big outcry: “I [have] reached the age where I’m tired of being oppressed and I’m tired of being defamed and I am not going to do anything that is going to lead to gratuitously antagonistic people making apparently plausible claims that I am morally unsuited to be a citizen of this country.”

• Black, who knows his way around a lawsuit, had an unsurprising response to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s calling him a “British criminal”: “If he wants to divest himself of his parliamentary immunity, it would certainly be my pleasure to sue him for defamation.” He called the comment a “cheap shot” that previous NDP Leaders like Tommy Douglas would never make.

• The memoirist and former newspaper magnate intends to keep up on his writing, but won’t be adopting any new platforms soon, saying “the idea of Twittering is bothersome to me.” We doubt the 140-characters could contain an average Black statement anyway.

Conrad Black on freedom…and on the record [CBC News]

  • TiredOfCB

    The worst kind of criminal is the one that doesn’t see the error of his ways, shows no remorse, and thinks it’s the system that’s wrong and not him. They have learned nothing; their conscience would let them do the same thing all over again.

    If it is unfair that criminals, that have theoretically paid their debt to society with a fine or jail sentence, are still “stigmatized for life”, maybe Conrad Black can start an overhaul of our legal system to expunge criminal records after completion of their sentence? Otherwise, it is what it is.

    Oppressed and defamed?

    After years of oppressing others, now he notices it is not so nice being on the other side of the stick? No kidding.

    Conrad Black has only defamed himself.

    “Gratuitously antagonistic people”? No, they are antagonistic for a reason.

  • Michael

    Can it be not denial by one so smart?? Mr. Black is in his dream world and must be awoken before he casts more harm Send him back to Britain amongst those he once so sought.
    Such arrogance!!

  • Bluffer

    He is quite evidently still delusional! Definately does not see that he is a criminal and was engaged in criminal activities. Typical Black thinking the serfs are the ones who are wrong – - – never him.

  • Nari

    The media, public at large and the other rich and famous hate him because he smart, knowledgeable, control and has command of English language, knows the history and the law as the palm of his hand. People who hate and despise him are either dumb or suffer from inferiority complex. Watch out don’t defame him. Breeden and Kissinger as I understood have already made an out of court settlement. Mulcair either has to shut his mouth or face his onslaught. Radler is already in hiding and that would equally go for John Moore of 1010 of Toronto. He shook the USA Supreme Court to redefine honest services. It is just the ignorance to hate him. 30 experts from Canadian Immigration have already caved in.