[JURIST] Conrad Black [JURIST news archive], former chairman of media company Hollinger International [corporate website], told a US federal judge in Chicago Friday that he would prefer to have a trial soon. Black appeared at a court hearing held to assess the progress of the case against him. In December he pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to criminal charges [JURIST report] of fraud and racketeering, as well as obstruction of justice for destroying documents. Accusations against him include looting and misuse of company perks at Hollinger, a Chicago-based newspaper publisher with parent company in Toronto.
Black's trial, which will include associates and a holding company as co-defendants, is tentatively set to begin March 5, 2007, but the complex nature of the case may cause delays. At Friday's hearing the Canadian-born Black, now a British citizen and a member of the House of Lords, also expressed his frustration at a subpoena, now withdrawn, blocking his access to documents and personal items left in his office at Hollinger in Toronto. Reuters has more.