Few were surprised to see the usual suspects from the Senate (Marjory LeBreton, Carolyn Clifford-Olsen) and PMO (Nigel Wright, Benjamin Perrin) rounded up as Crown witnesses for next month’s trial of de-troughed senator Mike Duffy.
But the addition of Conservative MPs, including Barry Devolin (Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock), could be bad news for the Ol’ Duff.
Devolin is on the bill to testify about a fundraiser starring the beloved broadcaster in Cambray in 2009-10. Presumably, he will help untangle whether the Senate ended up footing the bills for Duffy’s partisan bagman duties.
But there may be further deviltry in the details. Investigators have also heard suggestions that Duffy not only billed the Senate for his fundraising expenses, but managed to get the host riding associations to sweeten the pot with under-the-table payments (shurely not $500 in cash?!—ed.).
Meanwhile, the roster of defence witnesses remains unknown. As readers will recall, Senator Accused has been assiduously working the phones, imploring erstwhile Tory cronies to back him up.
He put the squeeze on one Ontario Tory MP to refresh his memory about the time Mike was in the riding to lend a hand his star power to a fundraiser.
“Now I need your help,” Duffy whinges.
“Well, uh, yes, Mike, but you came to the riding for a dog show,” the MP replies.
[Sound of Duffy spluttering] “Well, that’s true, but I went for a coffee with you and I showed up at your event…I really need you to testify for me…deep trouble…they’re all out to get me…”
“I can’t lie for you,” the MP says. “If I testified, I’d have to say you came here for a dog show and you billed taxpayers for it.”
“Well, thanks a lot!” Slam!!
The upright MP in question? Step forward, Dean Del Mastro (Con.—Peterborough-Hoosegow).
What possible use Deano would have been as Defender of the Duff in the first place is a mystery to Frank, since his testimony at his own electoral fraud trial was so thoroughly scorched by Judge Lisa Cameron (“improbabilities and inconsistencies…incredible…frequently obfuscated,” etc, etc.).
Scheduling might also have been tight. Duff’s in the dock starting April 7 through June; Del Mastro’s up for sentencing April 28.