Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Senator's counsel fires counterattack ammunition in expenses-scandal news briefing

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OTTAWA -- Sen. Mike Duffy's lawyer, Donald Bayne, held a news conference Monday to lay out his client's version of events in the Senate spending scandal. Five allegations emerged:

1. Government Senate leader Marjory LeBreton allegedly told Duffy in a letter that residency is not clearly defined in the Senate's rules. Duffy had been checking out whether his P.E.I. home could be considered his primary residence -- the issue that sparked the housing-expenses controversy.

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2. Nigel Wright, the prime minister's former chief of staff, allegedly told Duffy in an email last December he had not broken any rules in relation to his housing expenses. A few months later, Wright gave Duffy a $90,000 cheque to repay those expenses.

3. Duffy's lawyers allegedly dealt with a lawyer at the Prime Minister's Office on the issue of his expenses. Bayne would not provide a name.

4. Chris Woodcock, Harper's former director of issues management, was allegedly copied on a February email from Duffy to his lawyer, in which Duffy describes a conversation he had with Wright the night before.

5. Duffy blames mistakes in travel-expense claims made while campaigning for the Conservatives during the 2011 election on an employee who was allegedly filling out his forms during her maternity leave and had postpartum depression. Bayne said Duffy was not aware she was making the erroneous claims, although he later signed off on them.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 22, 2013 A6

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