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Mike Duffy trial: More details expected about photo expenses

04/21/2015 05:00 EDT | Updated 07/12/2015 11:59 EDT
The Mike Duffy Senate expenses trial today could hear more about costs the suspended senator allegedly charged to taxpayers for photos and picture enhancements, including those of former first lady Barbara Bush and Duffy's daughter and grandson as well as other personal pictures.

On the 11th day of the trial in a provincial courtroom in Ottawa, Duffy's trial may hear from someone from Kanata, Ont.-based Jiffy Photo and Print, where those photo services were provided. 

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to expenses he claimed as a senator and later repaid with money provided by the prime minister's former chief of staff Nigel Wright.

The Crown has already entered into evidence a number of invoices from Jiffy Photo and Print addressed to Mike Duffy, "c/o Gerald Donohue Maple Ridge Media," which include costs of a 11 X 14 picture enlargement of Barbara Bush, wife of former president George H. W. Bush, for $10.99, and an 8 X10 and 11 X 14 Medite mount also of Bush valued at $34.30.

Other photo services, according to the invoices, include picture enlargements of former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and of Duffy's daughter and grandson.

The expenses related to Jiffy Photo and Print were paid through firms previously owned by Duffy's friend Gerald Donohue.

Duffy awarded contracts valued at around $65,000 to Donohue, who, the RCMP has alleged, did "little or no apparent work." The Crown alleges that Donohue, through his own companies, used that $65,000 to pay for inappropriate or non-parliamentary services for Duffy.

Duffy's lawyer Donald Bayne has previously offered a defence for the photographic services, arguing that photographs and development of films are valid uses of senators' expense budgets and that the Harper government has spent $2.3 million on photographic services.

Bayne argued that while it may have been "administratively irregular" for Duffy to treat some of these services as part of research and contracts, the work, as described by Bayne, would be considered Senate related.

Former Sun News host Ezra Levant had been expected to testify on Monday about two cheques he received for writing speeches for Duffy. But the longer-than-expected questioning of witnesses has delayed his testimony.

Levant, who completed the work for Duffy prior to joining Sun's now defunct news network, is now expected to deliver his testimony by video link on Friday.

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