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Conrad Black, the brash former newspaper magnate who lived extravagantly before his 2007 federal conviction for defrauding shareholders, may soon be released from a Florida prison after a federal appeals court granted him bail Monday.

The ruling from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals came weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court kicked Black's fraud conviction back to a lower court.

Black, who renounced his Canadian citizenship to become a member of the British House of Lords, was convicted along with three other former executives from the media empire Hollinger International of swindling the company's shareholders out of $6.1 million. He was acquitted of nine other charges.

It was not immediately clear when Black, 65, would be released from the low-security prison in Coleman, Fla., where he has served more than two years of a 6 1/2-year sentence. The conditions of his release will be determined by U.S. District Court judge in Chicago, according to an order from the three-judge panel.

Last month, the Supreme Court weakened the "honest services" law that was central to Black's fraud conviction. The justices left it up to a lower court to decide whether the conviction should be overturned. That decision has not yet been made.




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