The former lawyer Stephen Harper said in court Friday that he had not been aware of much of the negotiations between Senator Mike Duffy and the Prime Minister’s Office, but he thought Mr. Harper himself had approved the transaction.
When former chief of staff Nigel Wright told him the famous “we have the green light from the Prime Minister” (“we’re good to go from the PM”), Benjamin Perrin said he understood that Mr. Harper had seen approved in 2013 and the five-step plan to allow Mr. Duffy to pay its expenses.
These words were sent by Mr. Wright in an email in 2013, after he, Mr. Perrin and others had reached an agreement with Mike Duffy and his lawyers. The agreement provided inter alia that Mr. Duffy publicly admit having made mistakes with his spending and affirm that they would be repaid.
Part of the arrangement provided that the party would cover these expenses, which was then believed to $ 32,000.
According to Mr. Perrin, attorney Mike Duffy briefly insisted that the agreement includes a commitment under which the Conservatives never would ask the RCMP to examine spending senator. The Prime Minister’s Office, however, found this proposal unacceptable.
Mr. Perrin said that even if no one at that time, believed Senator Duffy guilty of a crime, the Prime Minister’s team could engage – legally or politically – never entrust the police to file .
Earlier this week, Nigel Wright said in court that this comment (“it was the green light”) referred to a conversation he had with the Prime Minister, in which he had said he would ask Mike Duffy to repay. He did not give details. During the election campaign, Harper said he never said that.
Mr. Perrin also told the court that he had never spoken directly to Mr. Harper about this and he knew nothing of the negotiations. If he had thought that every element of the plan was illegal, he would have talked about it, he assured.
Benjamin Perrin was on his second day of testimony at the trial of Mike Duffy for 31 counts, including fraud, embezzlement and corruption. His testimony was mainly due to the latter two charges stemming from the $ 90,000 check that the senator agreed to Nigel Wright.
This amount corresponds to the amount of expenditure wrongly claimed by the senator, and part of me Perrin’s work was to find out why Mr. Duffy refused to pay them, he said. According to him, Nigel Wright has clearly told him that Mr. Duffy would pay, since he was going himself sign the check.
The statements of the lawyer had the effect of a bomb in the Conservative campaign on Thursday when he said that the head of the Prime Minister, Ray Novak, was well aware of the existence of the reimbursement of 90 $ 000 by Nigel Wright, that the Harper clan had always denied.
He also said that in retrospect, he found that it was not in possession of all the information available when it has done its job and suggested he was happy to have already decided quit his job when negotiations between Mike Duffy and the Prime Minister’s Office concerning the repayment drew to a close.
“I found myself in a very uncomfortable position and I did not like it, he said. Lawyers working for all kinds of people. ”
The trial will resume on Monday for a week before being adjourned to a later date in the election of 19 October.