The Spectator

Letters | 13 June 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Back to Black

Sir: Taki (High Life, 16 May) exaggerated the ineptitude of my counsel in Chicago, and in this I am happy to agree with Tom Bower (Letters, 23 May), but they were not my counsel of choice, whom I was prevented from retaining by an asset seizure that was subsequently judged by the jury to be improper. Nor is this a tough prison. It is low security, not divided into cells, and without violence, but Taki is correct that the judge and probation officer recommended minimal security, for which I am technically not eligible as a non-American.

Bower is completely mistaken in everything else he wrote in his letter. There has never been any amount remotely approaching $50 million of mortgages on my Toronto and Palm Beach houses and certainly is not now. None of the defendants in our case testified, because voluntary appearances by accused people in the US opens up a very wide range of new subjects for prosecutors to explore with interrogatory techniques that would not be acceptable in Britain; and we all thought we had won the case. We did win about 90 per cent of it and are hopeful of justice being done on the remaining counts.

Then I will move on to my libel suits, including the one against Mr Bower.

Conrad Black
Coleman, Florida

Three PMs

Sir: Your leading article of 6 June states: ‘If there is to be a third Prime Minister during a parliamentary term — something that has not happened in the modern era…’. But the 1935-45 parliamentary term had three prime ministers: Baldwin, Chamberlain and Churchill. Admittedly this term was prolonged because of the war, but the three prime ministers held office in the first five years.

Whether the period 1935-45 was in the modern era may depend on one’s age: I was born in the first half of that period.

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