* Black has been free on bail awaiting resentencing
* Second time his case reached the Supreme Court
* Empire included newspapers in London, Chicago, Jerusalem
WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for resentencing former media baron Conrad Black next month in Chicago for fraud and obstruction of justice after rejecting his appeal.
A U.S. appeals court in October upheld Black’s 2007 conviction on one fraud count and for obstructing justice while it overturned two other fraud convictions. It ruled that the case be sent back to the trial judge for resentencing.
The ruling was based on a Supreme Court decision in June 2010 that narrowed the reach of a fraud law used to convict the Canadian-born Black and other former executives at one-time newspaper publishing giant Hollinger International Inc.
Black, who had been a member of Britain’s House of Lords, appealed to the Supreme Court and argued his entire conviction should have been thrown out based on the high court’s decision last year.
The U.S. Justice Department opposed his appeal. It said Black’s arguments lacked merit, the case does not warrant Supreme Court review and that any jury instructions errors were harmless.
Black’s resentencing is scheduled on June 24 before a federal judge in Chicago. Black, 66, has been free on bail since July after serving nearly 2-1/2 years of his original 6-1/2-year prison term.
Black, who had been found guilty by a jury in Chicago of defrauding Hollinger, once led the world’s third-largest English-language publishing empire that included London’s Daily Telegraph, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Jerusalem Post.
The Supreme Court refused to hear Black’s appeal in a brief order, without any comment.
The Supreme Court case is Black v. United States, No. 10-1038. (Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Eric Beech)