More claims from the accused in the Prime Minister’s Office vs. Senator Mike Duffy, came to light today.
The PMO claimed the money from Nigel Wright was part of “compassion and friendship” toward Duffy. Duffy said it was part of an extortion deal where he’d take hush money for improperly claiming Senate per-diem money while campaigning for the Conservative Prime Minister. If he talked, he was to lose his seat as a Senator.
In August we got hints that the PMO’s version was a total fabrication, as surprising as it was to learn the bombastic Duffy was not the instigator of his political demise.
Lawyer Donald Bayne on Monday read from emails between Duffy and LeBreton’s office as well as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright and others, to support his claim that Duffy did not knowingly break Senate rules.
And, when the growing scandal became politically explosive, Duffy was “in effect” told by the PMO not to cooperate with auditors, Bayne said.
Bayne said the PMO told Duffy “the Tory base” was offended by his residency claims and he would have to repay money for all four years of secondary housing claims for his Ottawa home. Duffy’s objections to repaying money he did not believe he owed, said Bayne, were greeted by “threats and pressure from the PMO.”
One of those threats, said Bayne, was that Senators David Tkachuk and Carolyn Stewart Olsen, who held the majority on a Senate subcommittee, would declare Duffy’s Senate appointment constitutionally invalid if he refused to co-operate with accepting a payment from Nigel Wright.
“The PMO decided they wanted to sweep a political embarrassment to their Tory base under the rug, and they threatened Senator Duffy with wholly unconstitutional and illegal procedures of throwing him out of the Senate without a hearing if he failed to go along with it,” Bayne said.
The PMO, Bayne said, came up with a “scenario’ and communication lines for Duffy to use with the media about how to explain why he was paying back the expense money. “It was a political tactic forced on him by the PMO,” Bayne said.