President Donald Trump granted a full pardon Wednesday to former publisher Conrad Black, a Canadian who embraced the U.S., only to find himself the target of what many observers considered a wrongful prosecution and conviction in 2007.
In a column celebrating his pardon Wednesday evening, Black recalled that his prosecution was the result of a clerical error, and that the law under which he was convicted was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Black, an admirer of the U.S. and the author of several noted biographies of American presidents, including Richard Nixon and FDR, became a bitter critic of the country’s legal system, calling it a “rotting carcass” in 2016, after serving over three years in federal prison.
He had been a friend of Donald Trump for many years, and was one of the few pundits who understood, throughout the 2016 election, that Trump could win the presidency.
As Black wrote in April 2016:
Donald Trump has entered a vortex and made it wider and deeper. It is clear from voting patterns that his assault on political correctness and his specific attacks on illegal immigration and trade deals that seem to have resulted in the exportation of unemployment to the U.S. — and on a feeble foreign policy that has effectively invited America’s traditional friends and adversaries to change places — have pulled in very large numbers of Democrats and independents who had often not bothered to vote, so disgusted are they with current politics. It is unlikely that any other Republican could keep this harvest of voters, often called Reagan Democrats and essentially the working-class Democrats who, for varying reasons, crossed over to Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.
On Wednesday, he noted some parallels between his own prosecution and the effort to ensnare President Trump. At the time of his trial, Black pointed out, Robert Mueller was director of the FBI, and James Comey was Assistant Attorney General. “I was convicted for attempted obstruction of injustice. It was never anything but a smear job,” he wrote.
My long ordeal with the U.S. justice system was never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied international media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner.
Black concluded: “For my friends, no explanation was ever necessary; for my enemies, none would ever have sufficed. As I told the trial judge at resentencing: I always try to take success like a gentleman and reversals like a man. On to better things and brighter days.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.