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Testimony at Duffy trial puts Ray Novak at centre of scandal

Duffy Trial Day 41: Court hears that Harper’s top aide was always in the loop about Duffy’s questionable expenses


 
Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, arrives with his lawyer Peter Mantas (right) at the courthouse in Ottawa on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 for his second day of testimony at the criminal trial of embattled Sen. Mike Duffy. (Justin Tang/CP)

Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, arrives with his lawyer Peter Mantas (right) at the courthouse in Ottawa on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015 for his second day of testimony at the criminal trial of embattled Sen. Mike Duffy. (Justin Tang/CP)

OTTAWA — Testimony at the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy has put Stephen Harper’s right-hand man smack in the centre of the scandal, contradicting the Conservative campaign’s assurances.

Ray Novak, Harper’s chief of staff and current campaign director, was in touch right up until the call of the federal election with Nigel Wright — the ex-chief of staff whom Harper has repeatedly held responsible for the scandal.

For the record: What Harper said earlier today about the Duffy trial

And court heard that Novak has been in the loop from the very beginning on the behind-the-scenes machinations that eventually led to Wright’s departure from the Prime Minister’s Office and some of the charges laid against Duffy.

That version of events directly contradicts what the Conservative campaign told reporters late last week; that Novak was not aware.

The information emerged during Duffy’s trial on fraud, breach of trust and bribery charges.

Defence lawyer Donald Bayne read out an interview conducted by the RCMP with former PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin in February 2014.

Perrin told the RCMP investigator that it was “black and white” that Novak was told that former chief of staff Wright would foot the $90,000 bill for Duffy’s contested expenses.

“I believe that Ray Novak was in the room at that time,” Perrin said in a transcript that was read out in court Tuesday by Bayne.

Related reading: Who is Ray Novak? 

“…The people who from my own personal knowledge knew about this was obviously, Nigel Wright, Ray Novak, we’ve gone through that, and David van Hemmen, Nigel Wright’s assistant.”

Despite leaving the PMO under a cloud after his $90,000 payment became public, Wright said he is still in contact with Novak.

Under questioning from Duffy’s lawyer, Wright at first said he had last spoken to Novak in May or June, but then said he had exchanged text messages with him “probably about two weeks ago.”

Wright says he does not have a record of the messages.


 

Testimony at Duffy trial puts Ray Novak at centre of scandal

  1. Ahhh, Novak….. you mean the guy who lived in an apartment above Harp’s garage?

  2. Ray Novak better catch up on his emails – it would seem he is behind the times

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