President Donald Trump has pardoned media mogul and author Conrad Black, who wrote a "super-flattering" book about the president last year, Mediaite reports.
The Canadian-born British citizen -- whose media empire once included publications such as the Jerusalem Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Daily Telegraph -- was found guilty in 2007 before United States' courts of taking money from the publications' profits.
Black "was found guilty in the United States in 2007 of scheming to siphon off millions of dollars from the sale of newspapers owned by Hollinger Inc, where he was chief executive and chairman."
His sentence was subsequently shortened -- he was released from prison in May 2012, and then deported from the United States.
In its statement about the Black pardon, the White House referred to him as "Lord," pointing out that a number of high-profile figures have vouched for the publisher and author. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, legendary pop singer Elton John, and the late William F. Buckley Jr. have all "vigorously vouched" for Black, according to the White House.
As The Guardian notes, in his flattering book about Trump entitled Donald J Trump: A President Like No Other, Black argues that the president is misunderstood, and not at all what his opponents claim that he is. According to the author, Trump "is not, in fact, a racist, sexist, warmonger, hothead, promoter of violence, or a foreign or domestic economic warrior".
Explaining the decision to pardon the media mogul, a White House spokesperson said that he has made "tremendous contributions to business, as well as to political and historical thought," praising the work he had done with fellow prisoners while serving his sentence.According to The Guardian, Donald Trump and Gordon Black have known each other for decades. Twenty years ago, Black agreed to build together with Trump a skyscraper in Chicago. The now-president has even been considered as a potential witness at Black's trial.
Over the years, the two men have publicly expressed admiration for each other. In 2005, for instance, Black praised Trump in an op-ed calling the then-businessman and reality TV star a "good guy." Trump responded to the column calling Black a "friend," and "one of the truly great intellects" vowing not to forget the flattering op-ed.In Britain, the author and media magnate is known for his extravagant lifestyle and lavish spending.
Trump has issued a number of pardons since taking office. Most recently, he was criticized for pardoning an American soldier convicted of war crimes, according to Military Times.