Senator Mike Duffy has been cleared of all 31 fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges he had been facing in relation to the long-running Senate expense scandal.
Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt’s 308-page decision amounts to a complete vindication for Duffy and a scathing indictment of the tactics of the Prime Minister’s Office under Stephen Harper.
It’s the long-awaited finale to a stubborn political drama that dispatched Harper’s chief of staff Nigel Wright, staggered the Conservative re-election campaign, embarrassed and diminished the Senate and laid bare the inner workings of a notoriously guarded and secretive government.
Duffy pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The bribery charge stemmed from Wright’s decision to personally pay the $90,000 in living expenses Duffy claimed by declaring his long-time home in an Ottawa suburb was actually a secondary residence.
The remaining 30 fraud and breach of trust charges relate to Senate money the Crown alleged Duffy either received for trips that had nothing to do with Senate work or that he funnelled through a friend’s company to cover costs the Senate wouldn’t pay for.