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Ex-Media Mogul Conrad Black Released From Miami Federal Prison

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Conrad Black

CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 24: Former press magnate Conrad Black arrives at federal court for a resentencing hearing on June 24, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Black served 29 months of his original 6 1/2-year sentence before being released on bond following a landmark Supreme Court ruling limiting federal prosecutors’ use of a federal fraud law known as the ‘honest services’ argument. The Supreme Court set aside Black’s three mail fraud convictions in the case, but Black remains convicted on one count of obstruction of justice that accounted for 78 months of his original sentence. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)

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South Florida Crime

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Conrad Black, a disgraced former media mogul, walked out of federal prison in Miami early Friday morning after serving roughly three years for defrauding investors.

Black once owned multiple media outlets including the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Telegraph of London, the Jerusalem Post and a host of small papers across the U.S. & Canada.

He was originally sentenced to six years in prison after he was convicted in 2007 on fraud based on “honest services” laws. However, when the U.S. Supreme Court severely cut apart those laws, Black won sentence reductions after two of his three convictions were tossed out of court.

Black is a former member of the British House of Lords and was known for lavish spending. He threw a $62,000 birthday party for his wife, owned a swanky apartment on Park Avenue in New York, and took trips to the island of Bora Bora.

The core of the charges against him was that he and other executives of his empire started selling off most of their small community papers starting in 1998. The companies that bought the papers paid Black and other executives millions of dollars in return for a promise to not return to the small town and compete with the new owners.

Prosecutors said the executives pocketed the money in a quid pro quo scheme and that the money belonged to the shareholders. But the U.S. Supreme Court’s undercutting of the law allowed Black to escape most of the charges without having to serve any prison time for them.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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