OTTAWA – It’s expected that cross-examination will begin today for a former lawyer of Stephen Harper at the fraud trial of Sen. Mike Duffy.
Benjamin Perrin raised eyebrows Thursday when he contradicted the Conservative campaign over the secret $90,000 payment of Duffy’s disputed expenses.
Perrin, who was counsel and policy adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office, told the court that Harper’s current chief of staff Ray Novak was told at least twice about the plan.
His comments directly contradicted the version of events that the Conservative campaign last week, which maintained that Novak never heard of the plan for his predecessor Nigel Wright to come up with the $90,000 from his own pocket.
One of Harper’s campaign spokesman said it’s “unfathomable” that Novak would be aware of the payment plan and not tell Harper.
Perrin was involved in negotiations in 2013 to come up with a deal where Duffy would publicly admit he might have made a mistake on his expense claims while the Conservatives would see about having an audit cut short.
Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.