Newly released court documents filed by the RCMP raise questions about Senator Mike Duffy's explosive speeches to the Senate last month in which he defended his actions in an expenses scandal.
Cpl. Greg Horton, the RCMP's lead investigator into questionable spending by Duffy, and fellow senators Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin and former senator Mac Harb, took a close look at Duffy's speeches in an affidavit released Wednesday.
The affidavit was part of Horton's investigation into a deal between Duffy and Nigel Wright, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, to repay Duffy's expenses. The document makes allegations of bribery, fraud on the government and breach of trust against Duffy and Wright.
To a Senate audience on Oct. 22, Duffy told a tale of being pressured by the PMO into complying with a story, or "scenario" as he put it, about why he willingly repaid the money he owed for inappropriate expenses. Duffy said he was warned Senator Carolyn Stewart Olsen and Senator David Tkachuk would lead a charge to have him expelled from the Senate on the grounds of not being a true resident of P.E.I., the province he was appointed to represent.
However, Horton says he has found no email evidence that suggests Duffy's story of PMO threats and intimidation is valid.
On the contrary, according to Horton, he found an email from Duffy to his own lawyer in which he stated Wright did not threaten to remove him from the Senate. Despite that conclusion, Duffy nevertheless told his lawyer he believed the threat to remove him was "obvious."
Horton also quotes an email from Senator Marjory LeBreton to Wright in which she dismisses Duffy's fears of being expelled from the Senate. Horton paraphrases LeBreton asking in her March 21 message to Wright, "if he [Duffy] lies awake at night dreaming up these things!" LeBreton was government leader in the Senate at the time.
Horton, in a detailed dissection of Duffy's two explosive speeches before the Senate in October, lays out a case to deflate Duffy's claim he was a victim of a "monstrous fraud" which the embattled senator described as a "creation of the PMO's from start to finish."
Rather than a deal forced upon to Duffy ensuring he would uncomplainingly accept Wright's $90,000 cheque and compliantly repay his housing expenses, Horton depicts Duffy as the mastermind behind the arrangement.
Horton concludes it was in fact Duffy's strategy to seek repayment of his expenses and have his legal fees paid for. (Duffy previously revealed the Conservative Party paid his $12,000 legal fees connected to his expenses repayment. The party has confirmed this.)
Horton comes to the conclusion, in a phrase that may come to haunt Duffy, "I have seen no evidence Duffy objected to someone else paying his fees."
Wright email to Duffy
In a section bound to raise questions about Duffy's Oct. 22 speech, when senators were debating suspending Duffy, Brazeau and Wallin without pay, Horton refers to an email Duffy paraphrased. The email is allegedly from Wright and seemed to somewhat exonerate him.
"Nigel Wright emailed me back, saying he's had my expenses checked and he was satisfied my accounts were in order. That all was in compliance with Senate rules. In fact, he said, there were several other senators in the same situation, and this was a smear," Duffy said during the the debate over whether to suspend him from the Senate.
However, Horton says in the court documents, he has a copy of Wright's email and Wright did not say he'd checked Duffy's expenses.
According to Horton, the email from Wright says, "I am told you have complied with all the applicable rules and that there would be several other senators with similar arrangements. I think the standing committee might review those rules."
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