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CHICAGO � Opening statements in the trial of former Hollinger International Inc. Chairman Conrad Black were put on hold today after the federal judge overseeing the case paused proceedings to survey jurors on what news coverage they may have seen over the weekend on a separate settlement related to the government’s star witness. Judge Amy St. Eve met with the jurors individually after Black’s defense attorney Edward Genson of Chicago told her that he was concerned about his client getting a “fair trial” in light of the news that jurors might have seen media coverage of former Hollinger executive David Radler agreeing to pay $28.7 million to settle a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement action. St. Eve planned in the morning to reconvene the trial in the afternoon, but then after lunch said that opening statements would begin tomorrow. U.S. prosecutor Jeffrey Cramer, who is expected to deliver the government’s opening statement, didn’t get a chance to address the packed courtroom, given the defense motion with regard to jurors and another motion asking for the prosecution to eliminate certain references to Black making no statement in an earlier company probe. Afternoon proceedings, without the jury in place, focused on procedural matters, including whether certain witness statements can be used in the trial. Black and three colleagues are on trial in the Northern Illinois District Court on charges they bilked Hollinger of $84 million through a fraud scheme that used affiliate Hollinger companies to enrich the executives. Radler, Hollinger’s former chief operating officer and a longtime Black business associate, turned against his former colleagues and agreed to be a government witness against them. The government expects the trial to last three to four months. The three co-defendants on trial with Black are John Boultbee, a former Hollinger executive vice president and former chief financial officer; Peter Atkinson, a former Hollinger executive vice president and general counsel for an affiliate; and Mark Kipnis, a former Hollinger corporate counsel. At the time that Hollinger’s executive team began to unravel, the company owned the Chicago Sun-Times, the Daily Telegraph of the United Kingdom, the Jerusalem Post, and the National Post of Toronto, among other newspapers. Hollinger International has since changed its name to the Sun-Times Media Group Inc. The company remains based in Chicago. Black burst out of the federal courthouse building at lunchtime, pushing past some photographers who were in his path and causing at least one to fall to the ground, a photographer said. The trial has attracted reporters, camera professionals and photographers from the United Kingdom and Canada as well as those from all over the U.S. Black added a British citizenship to his Canadian status in 1999 and then renounced his Canadian citizenship the following year and became a member of the U.K.’s House of Lords.

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