Jailed press baron Black seeks Bush pardon: report

TORONTO Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:31am EST

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Former media baron Conrad Black is seeking a pardon from U.S. President George W. Bush in a last-ditch effort to get out of jail early, the Globe and Mail reported on Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Black, a Canadian-born member of Britain's House of Lords, has been in prison since March, when he began serving a 6-1/2 year sentence for defrauding shareholders of one-time newspaper publishing giant Hollinger International Inc.

Black's lawyers recently submitted legal bills to his former publishing company, some of which referred to work done in pursuit of a clemency plea, the Globe and Mail said.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the president can grant pardons and shorten sentences.

The push for clemency comes after a federal appeals court unanimously upheld Black's conviction this summer.

Black and three ex-colleagues were accused of swindling the company -- once the world's third largest publisher of English-language newspapers -- out of $6.1 million by giving themselves illegal bonuses.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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