Conrad Black Trial Opening Statements

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Conrad Black Trial Underway with Opening Arguments

Prosecution: Black's a thief

Defence: Black Didn't Steal from Hollinger - Hollinger was Stolen from Him

March 20, 2007. The prosecution says Conrad Black and his co-defendants, Peter Atkinson, Jack Boultbee and Mark Kipnis, are thieves in designer suits.

The defence retorted with a headline catching one-liner: Black didn't steal from Hollinger International. The company was stolen from him.

In his opening statement, assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Cramer said, "These are some of the most sophisticated businessmen you'll ever see." "They knew what they were doing was wrong. It's not their company. It belongs to the shareholders."

Lawyer Edward Genson, Conrad Black and Lawyer Edward Greenspan outside Chicago courthouse

In his response, defence lawyer Edward Genson said, "This isn't a story about a theft by Conrad Black, this is a story about a theft from him."

While the prosecution said Black stole money to support an extravagant lifestyle and lavish spending - using the Blacks' South Pacific vacation taken in a the corporate jet as an example - the defence advised the jury not to be distracted by talk of Black's wealth.

Black faces 17 criminal charges including fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, racketeering and obstruction of justice. If found guilty, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.