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Black's legal and linguistic battles

Conrad Black has followed through on a promise to file “the mother of all libel statements of claim” against Tom Bower, author of Conrad & Lady Black: Dancing on the Edge, The Globe and Mail reported this week. The suit also names HarperCollins Canada, the Canadian publisher of the book, as a defendant in the $11 million case.

Even through the legalese, Black’s trademark linguistic flourishes can be heard in the statement of claim. Here are a few examples:

Black alleges the writer’s conduct has been “vindictive, high-handed, contemptuous, sadistic, pathologically mendacious and malicious.”

Lord Black claims Mr. Bower “concocted a pre-conceived thesis that [Lord Black] is a criminal sociopath who, throughout his whole business career sought to enrich himself, in breach of the law, at the expense of his shareholders. [Lord Black], who has been regarded as one of the world’s most distinguished and successful newspaper publishers and respected financier, writer and historian, in recognition of which he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Privy Councillor of Canada, a life Baron of the United Kingdom and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great (Holy See); is represented by [Mr. Bower] as having been incorrigibly and notoriously corrupt and dishonest, psychiatrically maladjusted, unrelievedly odious, in fact evil and devoid of any redeeming or even mitigating qualities.”

And here’s one The Globe left out that Quillblog quotes directly from the statement of claim. The book implies that the “plaintiff was slithering along Bay Street sucking a life line.”

Black also accuses Bower of repeatedly representing his wife Barbara Amiel as “grasping, hectoring, slatternly, extravagant, shrill, and a harridan…. She is falsely accused of flying to London to have lunch with former U.S. president [George H. W.] Bush and generally of being a domineering, vulgar, obsessively materialistic and altogether repulsive personality.”

Quillblog knew the popularity of the Bush clan was in decline, but didn’t realize lunching with the ex-president was something to be so vehemently denied.