NEWS

Dean Del Mastro verdict in election spending trial coming today

10/31/2014 05:00 EDT | Updated 12/30/2014 05:59 EST
A judge will rule today whether Peterborough, Ont., MP Dean Del Mastro is guilty of spending too much in the 2008 federal election and falsifying a document to cover it up.

The prosecution argues that Del Mastro ordered $21,000 in voter identification, voter contact and get-out-the-vote services from a now-defunct company called Holinshed, but claimed only $1,575 in services because the campaign realized that claiming the full amount would put them over the limit. 

Del Mastro says the $21,000 he paid out of his personal chequing account was for a separate set of services that Frank Hall, Holinshed's owner, never delivered.

Del Mastro, who was elected under the Conservative Party banner and once served as Prime Minister Stephen Harper's parliamentary secretary, has been awaiting the verdict since closing arguments in early September. The MP has been in Ottawa regularly and has taken part in the daily question period. He now sits as an Independent MP. 

Del Mastro and Richard McCarthy, who was Del Mastro's official agent in 2008, are charged with:

- Spending more than the election expenses limit.

- Under-reporting his expenses.

- Turning in a campaign expense report that he "knew or ought reasonably to have known" was wrong.

Del Mastro is also charged with purposely exceeding the contribution limit for a candidate in his own election campaign.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges and face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Del Mastro has repeatedly said he did nothing wrong and ran a clean campaign.

The court session is due to start in Lindsay, Ont., at 9:30 a.m.

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