NEWS

Mike Duffy to be charged with fraud, breach of trust

07/17/2014 01:38 EDT | Updated 09/15/2014 05:59 EDT
RCMP investigators are expected to lay more than 10 counts of criminal charges against Senator Mike Duffy, including fraud and breach of trust, a source familiar with the investigation tells CBC News.

The news comes after a statement issued by Duffy's lawyer late Wednesday confirmed the RCMP is laying charges against the suspended former Conservative senator.

- WATCH | The Rise and Fall of Mike Duffy

Donald Bayne did not specify what the charges will be, but stressed that his client is "innocent of any criminal wrong-doing."

"We are confident that when the full story is told, as it will be, and shown to be supported by many forms of evidence, it will be clear that Sen. Duffy is innocent of any criminal wrong-doing," said Bayne.

The Senate voted last fall to suspend the former Conservative senator from Prince Edward Island as part of an ongoing controversy over disputed living expenses.

The RCMP has been investigating the housing claims and a $90,000 payment made to Duffy by Nigel Wright, Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, so Duffy could pay back the disputed claims.

The RCMP said in April that no charges would be laid against Wright, who resigned as Harper's right-hand man after it was disclosed he gave Duffy $90,000.

Duffy 'to defend fully and fairly,' lawyer says

Bayne said the evidence will show Duffy "did not want to participate in Nigel Wright's and the PMO's repayment scenario," which he contends was "concocted for purely political purposes."

Bayne added Duffy "intends to defend fully and fairly and to show that the truth and innocence are on his side."

"Sen. Duffy is thankful that the awful 16 months of waiting through a protracted and highly public police investigation is finally over, and we can move on to an impartial forum and fair hearing," Bayne said, adding the former senator has "never had a fair hearing" in the Senate or in the media.

Bayne also said in his statement that Duffy has undergone a second open-heart surgery since the scandal erupted, and "still has serious heart problems."

The Globe and Mail reported late Wednesday that the RCMP was expected to lay charges against Duffy on Thursday.

Duffy, along with fellow former Conservatives Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin, was suspended from the Senate last November over expense claims.

Liberal Mac Harb resigned from the Senate in August after paying back $231,000 for ineligible housing and travel expenses.

Harb and Brazeau face criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust, while Wallin has not been charged.

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