Thursday, March 15, 2007

Boo! Radler


Our favorite high/low light from day one of the trial of the Lord we can no longer call our own:

Dressed in a grey suit with a blue shirt and tie, Lord Black arrived early with his daughter, Alana, and his wife, Barbara Amiel. “I'm fine,” he said after stopping briefly to chat with a few reporters on his way into the courtroom. Lady Black did not comment and took a seat behind her husband, who sat at a long table with his legal team. Dressed in a pantsuit, Lady Black took notes throughout the day in a small reporter's notebook.

Which is all well and good as far as it goes.

But which part, we wonder, was the fine Lady playing with her small reporter's notebook - that of Harper Lee, or perhaps the real writer of the story, Truman Capote?

Either way, you can bet that all concerned, both at and behind the good Lord's 'long table' are hoping that David Radler turns out, ultimately, to play the part of Boo Radley, rather than that of the snitch who came in from the cold.

Because Boo ......errrr..... Mr. Radler really does look to be Patrick Fitzgerald's star witness:

The testimony of David Radler in the trial of Conrad Black is expected to be the denouement of a nearly 40-year partnership that saw the men build Canada's biggest newspaper chain through acquisitions and frugal cost management*.

In a trial that features a witness list littered with personalities such as Henry Kissinger and former Illinois governor James Thompson, it is Radler who is set to take centre stage, a star for the prosecution.

The longtime business partner known for staying out of the public spotlight appears in position to do the most damage to Black.

The son of a Montreal restaurant owner, Radler was an odd match for the scion of a wealthy Toronto family, but the men found a way to work together.

David Spencer, a professor of information and media studies at the University of Western Ontario, said Radler was there from the beginning as he joined with Black and Peter White to buy the Sherbrooke Record in Quebec. The group would go on to build a newspaper empire.

"Black was looking for someone like this and he happened to click and it paid off," Spencer said.

But if Mr Radler does, in response to the not so gentle prodding of Mr. Fitzgerald prosecutors, decide to sing rather than go Boo! in the night, well, it appears that the good Lord has already, if you'll pardon our use of the term, 'telegraphed' his next move:

Black has called Radler's deal with prosecutors surprising and has said "the obligation of all of us is to tell the truth."

He added, "If the truth is he did commit a felony, better to admit it. If he goes further and tries to incriminate innocent people, that's something else."

In other words, it's Boo who's the real devious, sleazy bad guy, while the good Lord has been duped all the way down the line.

Which some might buy, I suppose, except for the fact that things like this, apparently from good Lord's own 'long table' itself, keep popping up:

The flamboyant American billionaire Donald Trump is likely to give evidence for the defence of Conrad Black, in a legal coup for the fallen media baron disclosed days before the start of his racketeering trial.

Mr Trump is tipped to tell a Chicago court that he attended a surprise birthday party in 2000 for Lord Black's wife, Barbara Amiel-Black, and that he considered the evening to be a business event rather than a mere personal celebration.

The party for 80 people at New York's La Grenouille restaurant cost $62,000, (£31,000) including $13,935 for wine and champagne. Lord Black put $40,000 of the cost on expenses and the sum was paid by his Hollinger media empire.

You got that?

If true, this means that the defense is planning to bring in the Donald to say that $62K parties for the good Lord's wife (ie. not the original Missus) were actually business meetings such that the sums recouped from Hollinger were legitmate rather than robbery.


No question.

No deviousity on display there whatsoever, either in the original act or in the bizarre solipsistic defense strategy.

And besides, why not blame it all on Boo anyway.


Except for one small thing.......

In the Lee/Capote tale didn't Boo turn out to be the good guy in the end?

Here's hopin'.

*Don't you just love that term "frugal cost management". Sounds a whole lot better than 'slash and burn' doesn't it.


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