April 26, 2016 •
Canadian Senator Cleared of Bribery and Fraud Charges
Sen. Mike Duffy was cleared of 31 charges of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust on April 21, 2016. The charges stem from Duffy using Senate funds to pay for travel, housing in Ottawa, and other activities loosely tied to his work as a senator. He was also charged with soliciting a bribe from then-Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s chief of staff, Nigel Wright, in order to repay expenses ruled improper.
Following a 62-day trial, Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt dismissed 27 counts and found Duffy not guilty on the last four charges. In the 308-page decision, Vaillancourt found Duffy followed the rules of the Senate to the best of his ability, as the rules regarding legitimate expenses are vague.
Vaillancourt’s ruling also singled out Wright and other staff members in the Prime Minister’s Office for their behavior when dealing with the situation. Evidence, including emails, showed staff threatening, cajoling, and ultimately forcing Duffy to accept the money from Wright.
Had he been convicted, Duffy would have faced fines and jail time.
Photo of Sen. Mike Duffy by Ayelie on Wikimedia Commons.
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