(Ottawa) The former chief of staff of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Nigel Wright, said in his testimony Wednesday that he did not inform his boss of the plan to pay Mike Duffy when he discussed the case with him in February 2013.
On his first day on the witness stand, Mr. Wright explained the circumstances surrounding the famous email in which he wrote he had spoken to the Prime Minister and “we can move forward.” This is one of the few elements in evidence that bind directly to the Prime Minister this explosive case.
Stephen Harper has always maintained that he had not been aware at the time that the agreement between his office and Senator Mike Duffy Duffy predicted that the Senate would reimburse for living costs claimed in excess, and that would in turn reimbursed by the Conservative Party.
Wright explained that he wanted rather approval by Premier Media lines regarding the agreement, since it was a controversial case. He also wanted to ensure that by putting pressure on a member to caucus to repay taxpayers, they did not establish a dangerous precedent.
But as to whether the reimbursement of legal fees was discussed, Mr. Wright said no. “I never impliquerais Prime Minister […] as to whether the Background [Conservative] or not cover legal fees caucus or ministers in different situations. They were never conversations or decisions in which we involve the Prime Minister, “he has said.
The amount owed by Senator suspended happened shortly after 32 000 dollars to $ 90,000, and the general treasurer of the Conservative Party, Irving Gerstein, refused to pay that sum. Mr. Wright then decided to pay its own pockets “because we committed to do,” he explained to Judge Charles Vaillancourt in Room 33 of the Ottawa Courthouse.
The witness, who is independently wealthy, said he would frequently spend large sums without being reimbursed by taxpayers, for events with employees and others and said the amount was significant, but that its payment would not significantly affect its heritage.
NDP MP Charlie Angus said finding those weird explanations, especially about the fact that he met the Prime Minister on this issue to mention her that provide answers to reporters.
“We still have more questions for the Prime Minister said Mr. Angus. These media lines were false. It was an agreement to hide from the public that the party, through Mr. Gerstein and Mr. Wright would pay those amounts. The Prime Minister knew that the media lines he approved were based on false premises? ”
Mike Duffy faces 31 counts of fraud and corruption in connection with his living expenses claims, among others.
Nigel Wright’s testimony by the crown continues. It could then be against-examined for several days by Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne.