Conrad Black's attorney accused prosecutors today of trying to prejudice jurors against the fallen media mogul by focusing on his affluent lifestyle while basing their racketeering and fraud case on the word of a former business partner he described as "a proven liar".
"David Radler is all they've got," attorney Edward Greenspan said in a Chicago court as he launched his closing argument on behalf of the press lord.
"The government doesn't have a smoking gun because there isn't one."
Radler was Black's partner for decades as they built the £500m (€740.4m) Hollinger International newspaper empire but has now pleaded guilty and agreed to be the government's star witness in return for a light sentence.
Greenspan said Radler, who is expected to get a 29-month sentence in return for his cooperation, lied to prosecutors before pleading guilty and lied again on the witness stand to make sure that he gets the deal.
Greenspan said the prosecutors also focused on Black's "champagne and caviar and oriental rugs" to bias the middle-class jury against the former CEO of Hollinger International whose love of the good life was well-known.