TORONTO - Conrad Black co-defendant John Boultbee will be released from jail after a Chicago court agreed to his request to be freed pending the outcome of a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

Judge Amy St. Eve has granted a motion asking the former chief financial officer and chartered accountant be released on a US$500,000 bond secured by his nephew until the Supreme Court makes a decision, a motion that was supported by U.S. prosecutors.

Black's lawyers are still determining whether to apply for bail, while no filings can be made for Peter Atkinson, who did not take part in the appeal.

The fourth co-defendant, Mark Kipnis, a former in-house lawyer for Hollinger International Inc., had been sentenced to house arrest and has no need to apply for bail, although he too joined the petition to have the conviction overturned.

"I'm grateful for the courts and the governments co-operating in releasing Mr. Boultbee because, in the event he wins in the Supreme Court, he would have served his sentence otherwise and the victory would have been Pyrrhic," said his lawyer Richard Greenberg.

The Supreme Court agreed to review the case last week and can now either leave the conviction in place, rule that one aspect of the case was flawed, or overturn it entirely.

A decision isn't expected until June 2010 - around the same time Boultbee is scheduled to be released.

It's not yet known when Boultbee will be set free following Thursday's decision because the release must be sorted through the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Homeland Security.

Boultbee began serving a 27-month jail term in California last July after he was convicted in 2007 of fraud along with Black and two other former executives of Hollinger International.

If the Supreme Court rules against Black and his co-defendants, Boultbee would have to return to jail to finish his term.

Black has already served more than a year of his 6 1/2-year prison sentence, and is currently being held at a federal facility in Coleman, Fla.

He was convicted of three counts of fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.

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