Former media baron Conrad Black's racketeering trial got under way Tuesday with a federal prosecutor calling him a corporate swindler who stole millions of dollars and his attorney ripping into the government's star witness as a liar.
"It was theft, it was fraud, it was crime," federal prosecutor Jeffrey H. Cramer said in a fiery opening statement.
But defense attorney Edward M. Genson said the money was made legally and scoffed at the notion that Black and his three co-defendants had defrauded shareholders in the Hollinger International newspaper empire.
"They were entitled to the money," Genson said. "Were they entitled to that much money? That's a philosophical matter."