Wall Street Journal apologizes to Conrad Black

Newspaper concedes it may have been too eager to jump on anti-Black bandwagon

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling’s successful bid to have the U.S. Supreme Court rein in the “honest services” statute that has served as a backbone to several white-collar convictions south of the border was “a long overdue victory for the rule of law,” according to an editorial in the Wall Street Journal. Moreover, the decision has prompted a bout of self-reflection among the Journal‘s editorial board members, especially in light of the revised statute’s application in Conrad Black’s case. While the reversal of Black’s fraud convictions is primarily an indictment of the prosecutors who abused the “honest services” statute, it is also a wake-up call to the nation’s media, whom the Journal‘s editors write were too quick to hop on the anti-business bandwagon.  “The Black and Skilling cases are precisely the kind involving high-profile, unsympathetic defendants in which willful prosecutors like Mr. Fitzgerald are inclined to abuse the honest services law,” reads the editorial. “They know the media won’t write about the legal complexities, and they know juries are often inclined to find a rich CEO guilty of something. We regret that in the case of Mr. Black, that failure of media oversight included us.”

Wall Street Journal