Not only that Black would receive a full pardon from criminal charges, as he did on Wednesday, but that the pardon would be communicated by a White House led by a former business associate, real estate tycoon Donald Trump - a bit player in the saga of Black's fall from atop an worldwide media empire spanning three continents.
Black, who has called Trump a friend, published a book previous year praising him, titled "Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other".
Black, 74, was convicted of fraud and obstructing justice in 2007 and jailed for more than three years in the US.
The White House statement on the pardon touted Black's "tremendous contributions to business".
According to a lengthy post on Black's website, Trump called Black and told him personally of the pardon.
"My long ordeal with the US justice system was never anything but a confluence of unlucky events, the belligerence of several corporate governance charlatans, and grandstanding local and American judges, all fanned by an unusually frenzied global media showing exceptional interest in the case because I was a media owner", he wrote.
Black, a Canadian-born British citizen, once ran an global newspaper empire that included the National Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, Britain's Daily Telegraph and the Jerusalem Post. Trump tweeted it was an "honor" to read the piece, adding, "As one of the truly great intellects & my friend, I won't forget!" He then pursued a partially successful appeal, in which a judge cut his sentence down to 42 months.
In its announcement of clemency for Black, the White House cited an "impressive list" of people who had vouched for his character, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, singer Elton John, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and the late William F. Buckley Jr., the creator of The National Review.
Other pardons have included Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Vice-President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, who was convicted of lying about leaks to the media, and Jack Johnson, boxing's first black heavyweight champ, convicted in 1913 of taking his white girlfriend across state lines.
Sanders said Nolan wrote a guide for churches and community groups to help prisoners return to their communities.