The trial of Conrad Black reached a fascinating stage last week with the cross-examination of Black's former partner in crime turned prosecution star witness David Radler. His testimony was make-or-break for this case so Black's defence team applied the blow-torch. And it paid off big time with questions now being raised about Radler's credibility.

"He is a critical witness but a contaminated witness," London-based historian, broadcaster and journalist Tom Bower, author of 'Outrageous Fortune – The Rise and Ruin of Conrad and Lady Black' told Associated Press.

Freelance journalist Susan Berger, who is been blogging on the trial for has painted a picture of Radler looking rattled and Judge Amy St. Eve tearing strips off prosecutor Eric Sussman for grandstanding in front of the jury.

And not surprisingly, Black is in vintage form. The pompous windbag has declared war on the US government. In an interview with The Guardian's Oliver Burkeman published on the weekend, Black said: "I'm sending everyone a message. I'm saying: this is war".

The interview was set up ostensibly to talk about Black's new book on Richard Nixon.

The 37th President of the United States has long been reviled as a liar and a crook. Not so says Black, Nixon was brilliant and misunderstood.

With Black facing the prospect of being sent to the slammer for the rest of his life, you have to wonder whether something else is played out here.

And true to form, Black tells The Guardian that he expects to win this trial, and that the prosecution's case is "hanging like a toilet seat around their necks". But he acknowledges that he could end up in jail. "You know, Nixon said some of the best writing's been done in prison: just think of Lenin and Gandhi."

Of course, the first part of Mein Kampf was written in jail too.

Apart from comparing himself to Lenin and Gandhi, Black has in recent times described himself as a "freedom fighter" and French aristocrat.

For Conrad Black when it comes to self-delusion, the sky's the limit.


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