Conrad Black, who is due to go on trial in Chicago next month for alleged financial misdeeds involving the Hollinger Company, has filed a libel suit – seeking $11 million in damages – from British author Tom Bower.
Black has launched a scathing attack on on Bower in a suit filed in Toronto, accusing him in typically hyperbolic style of being "vindictive, high-handed, contemptuous, sadistic" and "pathologically mendacious".
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Black has been complaining about the book ever since it came out last year. He has claimed the book depicts his wife, Barbara Amiel Black, as "grasping, hectoring, slatternly, extravagant, shrill and a harridan".
The book – entitled Conrad and Lady Black Dancing on the Edge – has resulted, he claims, in him being subject to "hatred, ridicule and contempt".
Last year, in the Sunday Telegraph, Lord Black described the book's portrayal of his wife as a man-eating sex maniac prior to their marriage as "disgusting".
Bower has written several controversial biographies, including two books on Robert Maxwell who died mysteriously in 199l.
In an e-mail to the Toronto Globe and Mail, which broke the news of the libel suit, Bower said he is not worried about Lord Black's libel suit. "Robert Maxwell sued me many times" he said "and look what happened to him"
In his lawsuit – which runs to 43 pages – Lord Black cites more than 50 examples of alleged inaccuracies and defamatory statements including a suggestion that he is a religious hypocrite who delusionally imagines conversations with God, while his wife is described as a "Nazi apologist who screams at people and is barbarously rude to domestic staff".
He himself is portrayed, he claims, as "incorrigibly and notoriously corrupt and dishonest, psychiatrically maladjusted, devoid of any redeeming or mitigating qualities".
Also named in the suit is Harper & Collins, who published the book in Canada..