Former media baron Conrad Black has asked for an emergency delay to the start of his 6½-year prison sentence pending the outcome of his appeal.


Conrad Black, seen here in Chicago in December 2007, is due to start his jail sentence March 3. ((Jerry Lai/Associated Press))

Lawyers for Black, who was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice last year, filed an emergency appeal on Wednesday asking a U.S. Appeal Court to allow him to remain free on bond.

The motion also includes Black's two co-defendants, former Hollinger executives Peter Atkinson and John Boultbee.

The three are due to start their sentences March 3.

"A brief delay of applicants' surrender date until after this court rules on the application does not prejudice any party or undermine the goals of the justice system," said the five-page motion.

Last July, Black was convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice related to the diversion of millions of dollars from Hollinger International. The obstruction of justice conviction related to the improper removal of 13 boxes of documents from Black's office.

Boultbee was given 27 months in jail; Atkinson got 24 months. Both were convicted of three counts of fraud.

Trial Judge Amy St. Eve has already refused to grant Black an appeal bond. Such bonds are only rarely granted. Federal prosecutors are due to file their reply to Black's request on Feb. 25.

With files from the Associated Press