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Duffy trial day 13: Former Senate finance director to further explain expense rules

04/23/2015 05:00 EDT | Updated 07/18/2015 08:59 EDT
Crown prosecutor Jason Neubauer is expected to continue his questioning of Nicole Proulx today at the Mike Duffy trial, as the former director of Senate finance will likely testify more about the rules governing senators and the requirements for contracting and expensing services.

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.

Proulx spent much of Wednesday going over some of the expense allowances for senators, as Neubauer focused on a series of documents Duffy had signed declaring his primary residence to be in P.E.I.

Residency is one of the central issues in the case against Duffy. He designated his home in P.E.I. as his primary residence, which made him eligible to claim meals and living expenses for his time in Ottawa, even though he has lived and worked in Canada's capital since the 1970s. The Crown disputes that P.E.I. is Duffy's primary residence.

Proulx testified about the contracting process for senators and agreed that Duffy did not have the discretion to change the nature of the work described in a contract he had made with his friend Gerald Donohue. This meant that the money allocated to that contract could not be used for other Senate services.

Court has heard that Donohue issued cheques for services expensed by Duffy that included payments to an office volunteer, a makeup artist, a photo processing firm and a personal fitness trainer.

Proulx also testified about how newly appointed senators are informed about their responsibilities. She said that upon being appointed a senator, Duffy, like all newly appointed senators, met with Senate administration officials.

She said she and Duffy went through each type of budget afforded to a senator, which includes office and travel. She said she emphasized "the overarching principle that Senate resources can only be used for Senate purposes."

Proulx testified that Duffy, along with all newly appointed senators, received a Senate handbook and orientation letter that also outlines the responsibilities of the senators regarding their budgets.

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