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Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolson?

Day 2: Liveblogging Karlheinz Schreiber at the Oliphant Commission


 

schreiberBased on the not so gentle grilling he got yesterday, ITQ would hazard a guess that Karlheinz Schreiber is — or at least, he should be. (Heck, she’s a little bit scared of him herself – or at least, she would be if she ever wound up facing him from the witness stand at a public inquiry.) From the spectator perspective, though, commission counsel Richard Wolson’s barely concealed disdain for any attempt at strategic shillyshallying is a breath of fresh air, particularly when compared to the rambling preambles and fumbling Columboing that characterizes a typical parliamentary committee. But Wolson can’t keep going forever — eventually, he’ll have to hand the witness over to the other lawyers in attendance, including Schreiber’s own counsel, who will have his work cut out for him as far as giving his client the chance to repair some of the self-inflicted damage done to his credibility.

9:10:57 AM
Good morning, Oliphantiacs! Is everybody ready for day two? I hope so, because it’s about to get underway — the supporting cast of lawyers are starting to stream in, trailing their mandatory rolling briefcases behind them, and the camera crews have staked out the hallway in anticipation of the A-listers.

The fearsome Mr. Wolson is already at his pulpit — okay, technically it’s a lectern, and does anyone other than ITQ feel tremendous pressure to always be scrupulously accurate when describing the various flavours of Things You Stand On Or Behind? I think I have a complex. Anyway, he’s sporting what I’m fairly sure is a distinctly more flamboyant tie — I didn’t pay as much attention to the assorted haberdashery yesterday, and I apologize to y’all for the omission. It is comprised of four or five aggressively no-nonsense stripes, and makes me feel like confessing not only to my crimes, but any and every random crime that occurs to me.

Schreiber has arrived – you can tell without even glancing over to his corner; there is always an accompanying chorus of camera-related clicks and popping – and is chatting with his lawyer, Richard Auger, who looks – surprisingly serene, actually. The man headed for the docket, on the other hand, is downright jovial – or at least, determined to maintain his twinkling facade. He keeps almost but not quite approaching the media table, which is filling up quickly.

9:22:20 AM
Speaking of the media tables, there are four in total, each of which can fit approximately six moderately sprawly journalists, giving one a total of 24 possible choices. Given that, what would you say is the likelihood that I would have sat down in exactly the same seat that left me all but blinded by the sun yesterday morning? Sigh. Sometimes being a creature of habit is an exercise in resigned masochism.

9:29:32 AM
And here we go! I swear Oliphant has a trap door under his – uh, banquette? Table of justice? Anyway, I never see him until we’re told to rise. Anyway, Wolson is, I’m sure, eager to get back at dissecting Schreiber’s credibility, but first, he wants to make sure that the witness – and the commission, and everyone else – knows that he will be recalled later in the process, as well as during phase two of the inquiry. Oliphant wonders if there’s a reason why he thinks Schreiber *wouldn’t* show up when resummoned — he is under subpoena, after all – and Wolson assures him that he just wants to get it on the record.

That out of the way, it’s back to that fateful meeting at Harrington Lake, which Wolson quickly recaps — it was to discuss future work that the former prime minister would perform on behalf of Bear Head Industries.

9:34:57 AM
Okay, so there is yet another Schreiber statement that has been tabled into evidence, as of this morning; Wolson points out that Schreiber agreed that it was true, although he made “a few corrections”.

He – Wolson – then moves on to that particularly troublesome – well, for Schreiber, at least, and likely Mulroney as well in upcoming weeks – Eurocopter trial, and once again reads aloud from the transcript. Somehow, Midland Archer Daniels makes an appearance, courtesy of Bernstein’s then-line of questioning, and Wolson quotes a lengthy excerpt from Schreiber’s response, in which he discussed how nice it would be to have a Canadian former prime minister involved in his peacekeeping-related ventures. Oh, and he also confirmed that he was in the pasta industry, but he *didn’t*, Wolson suddenly thunders, tell him that he had hired Mulroney to work on Bear Head.

And we’re back into he said/he said, with the present Schreiber doing battle with the word of his former self. He adamantly denies Wolson’s contention that his Eurocopter testimony – given under oath – was not actually true.

9:42:18 AM
And a shoutout to parliamentary privilege, courtesy of Wolson, who reminds Schreiber that as much as he wishes he could use the testimony from the Ethics committee, he can’t. Schreiber wonders why, since the transcripts are “public”, and Wolson doesn’t even bother pretending that he believes his wide-eyed confusion over the issue; he just moves on, back to the Eurocopter case, and more inconsistencies – this time, the political donations that closed out yesterday’s hearing, but this time, Schreiber has an explanation for the incongruency between his diary entry and his claim not to have known about money going to the Liberals: turns out, he learned about it at the Ethics committee – from Pat Martin, no less – who found out about it from Elections Canada. Wolson wonders how it ended up in his journal at the time, and – we never really get an answer.

Wolson just drops the issue for the moment and moves to yet another tab, this time starring then-Defence Minister Bill McKnight, who wrote a letter telling Schreiber that the government was ready to let them compete for the LAV contracts — even though Fowler had told him that he wasn’t going to get it. Bizarrely, Schreiber denies that Fowler did any such thing, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure he said that *yesterday*, but perhaps this is one of those disputes over semantics.

9:51:23 AM
Back to the Memorandum of Understanding – wait, is that different from the Agreement? I think so – anyway, Wolson points out that the MoU was not actually signed by the defence minister – McKnight – and Schreiber suggests this was an interim copy of the eventual document. The upshot is that Schreiber eventually did get his MoU – presumably signed by all the necessary ministers – but still complained about Fowler to then-PM Mulroney in April 1991. Schreiber tries to clarify, saying that he heard about Fowler’s opposition through Peter White, and Wolson points out that he was apparently getting two messages from the government – some people were saying the project would go ahead, others, well, weren’t.

9:55:19 AM
Another Schreiber claim hits the autopsy table: his contention that he had “easy access” to Mulroney, even though, as Wolson notes, he wasn’t even living in Canada at the time. Schreiber sticks to his story on that one – when he wanted a meeting with Mulroney, Frank Moores or another mutual friend would make it happen.

10:01:04 AM
More about the loans – er, forgiven loans – or however you properly describe the flow of large-ish sums of money from Moores and/or the Frankfurt Account to Schreiber to Mulroney, and really, hands up, registered lobbyists in the audience: How many of you actually feel the need to have multiple secret bank accounts in various European countries known as much for the enlightened discretion of their finance laws as chocolate and scrupulous neutrality? Either ITQ is hopelessly naïve, or the sector has become far less glamourously mysterious than in the heyday of GCI.

Oh, look, Revenue Canada makes an appearance, but only for a moment; Moores wanted a receipt for his “confidential disclosure”, to prove it was a loan and not income.

Oliphant pops into point out that the “loan” to Moores was, as per past Schreiberdocs, for “services provided”, and wonders how exactly that works. “If he would continue to provide services for Bear Head,” Schreiber explains – but Oliphant reminds him that this was 1995. “Wasn’t Bear Head dead in the water?” No, no, Schreiber says, although Wolson swiftly brings up his comment from yesterday, when he *agreed* that Bear Head was over by 1995. Apparently, that was *late* in 1995.

You know, it strikes me that even if Schreiber had all but given up on the project by that point, for some reason, he kept handing out money to lobbyists – and they kept cashing the cheques.

10:08:55 AM
Oh! My favourite totally minor mystery that could crack the whole case open: the Kaplan contradiction related to the drive home from Harrington Lake, and the mysterious fresh-faced staffer who still, for some reason, has yet to come forward. Who was Mulroney’s executive assistant at the time? Anyone know?

Anyway, Schreiber tells Wolson that he had no reason to lie, and expresses perplexedness at his relentless prodding on these fairly inconsequential details. Wolson – who is almost certainly rolling his inner eyes – reminds him that this is another example of Schreiber contradicting himself.

10:22:24 AM
Apologies for the gap in coverage – I promise that just as soon as WordPress starts showing its BlackBerry-wielding users even a smidgeon as much love as it lavishes upon those smug iPhone-istas, I’ll never break the fourth – or fifth – wall again with my technical woes; really, we haven’t missed much, just more back and forthing between Wolson and Schreiber on every comma of his previous commentary on the meetings he had with the former prime minister.

Where did they meet? When? Was it a coffee shop? A lounge? A lounge that serves coffee? Schreiber describes the “Gold Key Lounge” at the Queen Elizabeth, which was for VIP guests, and served various scrumpshies — canapes, coffee, snacks. “It’s very nice,” he tells Wolson, who may be wishing for a canape right about now himself.

10:29:09 AM
A new organization – the Atlantic Bridge Organization — chaired by Allan MacEachen, then Marc Lalonde, and made up of “very distinguished” members from Canada, the United States and Europe. Not an *actual* bridge, although knowing Schreiber, I wouldn’t be surprised if he pitched that at some point.

This is all aimed at poking holes in Schreiber’s interview with commission counsel, by the way, although if you squint, it seems pretty much the same in style and flow as the debunking of the Eurocopter testimony.

10:31:40 AM
Sorry about that gap in coverage – once again, WordPress issues; I’ll try to post my notes at some point, but at the moment, will just recap the last fifteen minutes or so of increasingly minute factchecking by Wolson as “details are important”. At this point, I’m actually wondering if this strategy of trapping Schreiber in ever diminishing circles of contradictions might not backfire — start small and go big, not the opposite.

Oh, and Wolson does not like a kidder. Govern yourselves accordingly, future witnesses. Especially when it involves jokes about bringing “Christmas presents” to Jean Chretien.

10:36:18 AM
Oh, the requisite “how big was the envelope?” question: I knew this was coming when Wolson finally returned to the hundred thousand dollar bills that he handed over to Mulroney in that Montreal hotel lounge. Was it an inch thick? Schreiber asks him to stick to metric — he has trouble with inches — and suggests that you could generate the same sized parcel by stacking up twenty dollar bills. Or fives, for that matter.

Also, Schreiber was still confident that Mulroney had sufficient good friends within the Liberal Party – including Paul Martin, who is probably staring at the television in astonishment at this moment – and after a little more back and forth, we get our first break of the morning. Back in ten.

10:50:45 AM
So apparently, Schreiber may go until Monday – I know! Longer than at Ethics, even – which makes me wonder how they’re ever going to squeeze in all of the rest of the witnesses before the end of May, which is a soft-ish deadline, but still. We’re still on a break, but I always like to get back with plenty of time to spare, because the judge has a tendency to show up a few minutes early.

No midmorning scrums today, apparently – not even Team Mulroney. Maybe they’re not exactly sure where Wolson is going with this line of questioning either.

10:59:07 AM
You know, as much as I love the ritual, it’s nervewracking having to keep one eye on the door to make sure you don’t get caught off your feet when the judge makes his entrance. I don’t suppose we could put a bell on him, could we? A discreet, respectful one, of course.

11:01:18 AM
And we’re back again; Wolson picks up exactly where he left off: the three meetings, at Mirabel, the Queen Elizabeth and one other. Did Schreiber ever have coffee with Mulroney at any other time? No – and he isn’t sure what the former PM was drinking when they met at the Queen Elizabeth — coffee, tea or water, he doesn’t remember which.

He reminds Schreiber that Mulroney claims that it was just $75,000 – not an even hundred – and Schreiber flatly denies it; he always brought $100,000, and the money *always* came from a bank in Europe, in crisp thousand dollar bills. Didn’t he tell Mansbridge that it was ‘difficult’ to spend such bills in Canada, but easy in Europe? Yes, he did – sometimes “impossible”.

11:05:56 AM
Onto Fred Doucet, and the $90,000 payment, which Schreiber suggests may have involved a Swiss company. What was he doing for the money? Unless Bear Head paid him, Schreiber doesn’t know if there was any other money flowing his way, although the $90,000 was for successfully netting the Agreement.

11:09:41 AM
Back to Mulroney, and just exactly what he was supposed to do for Schreiber without a federal commitment; Wolson reminds Schreiber of his theory that the former PM could get that “behind the curtains” with his *Liberal* friends — who were at the time, as per Mulroney, already plotting to go after him on Airbus, but never mind that — and wonders why, despite the vast amount of money at stake, Schreiber didn’t bother calling Mulroney for months to find out what he could do. So why did he pay Mulroney the money? Schreiber – who seems to be gaining back a bit of his trademark chutzpah – tells Wolson that the former PM was “waiting for his moment” – like an actor waiting for his scene. Wolson looks unconvinced. Really, is this inquiry about the relative judgement of Karlheinz Schreiber as hirer of lobbyists? Because that’s what it feels like at the moment. The fact that paying Mulroney may now seem like an utter waste of money doesn’t necessarily negate the possibility that it still happened.

Schreiber suggests, in short, that Wolson stick to his knitting as far as telling him how to retroactively run his business, but Oliphant wonders whether he actually told Mulroney what he expected, as far as services. At the time, he seemed to be satisfied with his performance, but he later sued him for the $300,000. According to Schreiber, that was because he ‘refused’ to get involved in the pasta business.

11:17:05 AM
Finally, the New York meeting. Although first,Wolson has to establish how Schreiber got there – from Germany? From Switzerland? From Europe, anyway. Wolson reminds him that the Americans are on the strict side about foreigners carrying vast amounts of non-US cash into the country. Even then, there was a form that passengers would have to fill out, but Schreiber has no recollection of reporting his bundle of cash.

11:20:14 AM
So, what happened at the meeting itself? According to Wolson, Mulroney claims that he delivered a full report to Schreiber on what he had been doing, as far as international lobbying, and Schreiber concedes that the then-recently released white paper on defence was under discussion, as well as the situation in Quebec. How did Mulroney get the white paper? Probably from a letter sent by Massman, Schreiber suggests, which seems to briefly intrigue the judge, but Wolson assures him we’ll hear more about that later.

Wolson runs down the rest of Mulroney’s past testimony on the meeting, particularly the rundown of former leaders with whom he has claimed to have reported holding meetings: Yeltsin, Mitterand, senior Chinese leadership — both Doucet and Mulroney, Wolson notes, have stated that these meetings happened, yet Schreiber maintains that they didn’t. “It’s nonsense in itself,” he sneers – communist countries would “never” be allowed to buy NATO equipment.

And for this, Mulroney will never, ever forgive him: when asked about the length of the meeting, Schreiber notes that the former PM ‘kept running in and out of the room’ since he had diarrhea. And – scene. Wait, no, it goes on; Wolson heroically ignores the snickering from pretty much all quarters of the room, and demands an itemized list of topics discussed during the hour and a half that the meeting dragged on (with health breaks).

11:28:21 AM
Okay, so after chatting about the white paper, Stevie Cameron’s On the Take and various other things, Schreiber handed him an envelope full of fresh thousand dollar bills, which Mulroney folded into a newspaper and carried off to the washroom.

Why, Wolson wondered, did he bother, since Chretien had won a majority, and was probably there “for a while”. Not if Chretien was killed in a car accident, Schreiber points out with perhaps unnecessary gruesomeness. Then, Mulroney’s very good friend Paul Martin would become prime minister. Plus, if Mulroney had agreed to take part in the pasta business, he would have been a “huge” asset. But, Wolson prepares to pounce, he didn’t *have* the pasta interest at the time, did he? Schreiber pahs. Details – he woud have had *something* on the go, which – frankly, given his history, probably isn’t wrong.

11:33:17 AM
And now, the Elmer MacKay anniversary gala – featuring Tony Bennett, y’all – which was what brought them all to New York in the first place. The next day, Schreiber arranged a surprise lunch for MacKay, his wife, Fred Doucet — and special mystery guest Brian Mulroney.

11:37:21 AM
Oh, again with the Eurocopter testimony. Why didn’t Schreiber tell the truth to *that* judge? How do we know he’s telling the truth now? (That second bit was ITQ, not Wolson, but it’s not hard to see that’s the underlying theme here.)

11:39:06 AM
Oh, this should be interesting: a memo from Fred Doucet on the New York anniversary lunch and impromptu business meetings, his account of which Schreiber disputed virtually every detail, save the time — 11:30 am — throwing in the occasional “I don’t recall” for variety. He denies that Doucet was even invited to the lunch – he just showed up, I guess – and suggests that if he had been, Mila Mulroney would have joined her husband at the lunch table.

Not sure why that’s true, but regardless, Schreiber is unfussed by the apparent agreement between Doucet and Mulroney on what happened, and tells Wolson that if Mulroney had needed *more* money, he would have given it to him. “And then sued him,” suggests Wolson, who then accuses Schreiber of suing for the $300,000 solely to get a public inquiry. Schreiber tells him that he wanted to get the former PM on the stand – that was his goal – and points out that he had a lawsuit in Alberta as well.

Wolson reminds him that he “abandoned”‘ the lawsuit because he “got” his inquiry, and Schreiber piously assures him that this was because he didn’t want to derail it – this inquiry, that is – since Quebec law allows cross examination of plaintiffs, and it’s all rather confusing – and more than a little accusatory, on Wolson’s part; Schreiber is coming across as the calm, cool and collected one today.

Meanwhile, Oliphant wonders about this mysterious Alberta lawsuit, which was actually against the federal government, not Mulroney.

11:57:11 AM
And after a few more rounds – including one on the timing of the pasta venture in which for the first time so far, Schreiber seems to come out ahead of Wolson, the hearing breaks for lunch.

See you at 2pm, everyone!

12:16:30 PM
Quick note, because I’d forgotten and I’m not sure if I’m the only one: that Fred Doucet memo that backed up Mulroney’s version of the New York anniversary meeting? It was written in 1999, just after what was – I think – the very first fifth estate piece ran – which makes it, well, maybe a little less convincing as corroborating evidence, what with being written years after the fact to counter Schreiber’s account.

And now – to the cafeteria, where the scones live and the judge stands in line for his sandwich, just like the rest of us.

1:47:40 PM
Okay, I haven’t been able to check since I am currently operating on berry alone, but apparently the PDFs – or *some* PDFs, at least – are now up on the inquiry website, so anyone who’d like to follow along at home – have at it!
We’re still not quite back from the lunchbreak – which, at two hours, feels downright luxurious compared to the regular cycle on the Hill – but most of the lawyers are already in place. Wolson tends to haunt the lectern even when he’s not on the job; it really is the most powerful spot in the room. Well, other than the judge’s chair, of course.

1:58:31 PM
And we’re back – again, and true to form, Wolson doesn’t waste time plunging back into the Schreiberverse — although he does tell the witness that if he finds himself to be getting too tired to continue, he can always ask for a break. Because that wouldn’t look evasive at all. Anyway, Wolson wonders whose idea it was to meet in New York, and Schreiber tells him that it just seemed like a good time to get together.

To talk about nothing, Wolson wonders – for an hour and a half? Well, that, and to hand over the money. Schreiber notes that he came from Europe to New York, and then went back the following day. Why not just get a cheque or a bank draft? Why wander across the border with a “wad of cash”? The thought never seems to have occured to Schreiber, although he insists that he never thought about such niceties as “not creating a paper trail”. Besides, if Mulroney *had* provided services for the money, he would have submitted an invoice, thereby creating a trail. Of paper.

2:03:36 PM
On to Quebec, and Schreiber’s hope – as related earlier today – that Mulroney could “do something” with the government is that by that point, Schreiber’s good friend Mr. Bourassa, with whom Mulroney ostensibly had such good relations, had been trounced by the Parti Quebecois. Schreiber notes that it would be the city that was involved – whoever was in charge, that’s who it would be.

2:07:01 PM
More about the money – and any meetings other than the money-hand-changing meetings between Schreiber and Mulroney; Wolson is still trying to highlight the apparent inconsistency of paying the man hundreds of thousands of dollars, and then not checking up to find out what he was doing to earn it.

Schreiber is getting a bit irritable – not over the questions so much as at being forced to keep switching binders and tabs. This time, he’s been directed to a page in his diary with the remarkable stated guest list of Mulroney, Doucet and – Dick Cheney? Really? Oh, please tell me he’s on the witness list. I’ll never ask for anything ever again. Promise.

Schreiber, disappointingly, doesn’t remember if such a meeting took place. I’ve got to think that would stick in your memory, but maybe my scale is too small. There is also an entry from the next year that mentions “Clinton in Ottawa”. Schreiber did not meet with him, sadly, nor does he recall asking Mulroney to meet with him.

2:14:31 PM
And — whooosh, all the way to 2008, and the letter he – Schreiber – wrote to Ethics committee chair Paul Szabo, in which he claimed that he’d only learned that Mulroney had killed off the Bear Head project during Norm Spector’s testimony, and Schreiber notes that he’s explained that before — he had heard it before, but hadn’t really believed it. Wolson quizzes him – he read it in 1995, but he didn’t believe it? Yup, that’s his story. You know, I’m honestly not sure if that really helps either Schreiber or Mulroney explain the payments in question, but that’s just me.

2:17:54 PM
“I believed Mr. Mulroney,” Schreiber says, finally, under questioning about that legal opinion he got from Ian Scott. He thought that the claim that he *had* killed the project was just “a defence”.

2:19:51 PM
Oh boy, a new meeting: this, between Schreiber and Mulroney, took place at the Savoy in February 1998, four years after the St. Pierre Summit in New York, and one year after the libel suit against the government had been settled. Who wanted the meeting? According to Schreiber, it was Mulroney — and he probably wouldn’t have met with him if the former prime minister hadn’t arranged it. Oh, and it was in Zurich – the Savoy in question, that is – Mulroney was in town for the Davos summit, and Schreiber was living there at the time. He was in trouble, Schreiber was in trouble – and Mulroney, according to Schreiber, was worried about the money; specifically, whether there was any evidence that he had received the money.

According to Schreiber, Doucet ‘didn’t see’ the payment at the New York meeting, and Schreiber assured Mulroney at the time that *he* – Schreiber – had no evidence that the money had gone to Mulroney. “I think he didn’t feel very comfortable,” Schreiber says. Wolson reminds him that he told the fifth estate that Mulroney was “nervous”, and I’m not sure if those are actually contradictory observations. Oh, but it was Fred Doucet who arranged the get-together; Schreiber and Mulroney were the only ones there.

2:28:27 PM
One thing that they *may* have discussed, however: pasta. Specifically, Spaghettisimo North America, which was just coming to a boil at that point.

2:30:09 PM
Ahh, some of the more unpleasant “other matters” that Schreiber, at least, had on his mind at the time, or at least had on his mind soon after that meeting: the charges in Germany, which started as tax evasion, but were made “more spicy”, according to Schreiber, with allegations of fraud and bribery. He was arrested in Canada, and, according to Mulroney, at that point, Schreiber was willing to say whatever it took to stay in Canada. “Is it true?” Wolson asks Schreiber, point blank. Would he do anything – including lie and make allegations against other people – to keep from being deported? No, Schreiber replies without hesitation.

2:33:14 PM
You know, for a room that is basically a glass pyramid, it’s awfully cold in here. Meanwhile, Wolson is grumpily walking Schreiber through the binders to another interview transcript, this time with the fifth estate’s Lyndon McIntyre. According to that report, Mulroney had made the ‘very unusual request’ that Schreiber provide a statement or an affidavit asserting that the former PM had never solicited money from “the German businessman”- which, it went on to allege, simply wasn’t true.

Oh, the show in question aired in 2007, but it was about events that took place earlier. More fifth estate transcript reading — it gets tricky to figure out where the broadcast text ends and Wolson begins, but that’s just one of the pitfalls of having to rely on so much previous material while in court, I guess. Schreiber told the fifth estate that he wouldn’t do so, since it would put him at risk of perjury charges, and now Wolson is reading Schreiber’s affidavit back at him. Sigh. This would be so much easier if I were in the media room, with full copies of the documents, but then I’d miss out on the stuff happening off camera.

2:42:28 PM
More about the letter — or, rather letters — that Schreiber claims Mulroney’s lawyers wanted him to dispatch to CBC; Wolson accuses Schreiber of not giving the full story, and quotes from yet another letter – this from Schreiber’s lawyer at the time, who denied Schreiber’s subsequent claim that Mulroney had requested the letter. “You don’t tell the whole story in your sworn document,” he scolds the witness. Schreiber seems confused. ITQ *is* confused, but hoping it will all make sense later. Or sooner. Sooner would be lovely.

2:45:27 PM
Oh, the taxes. We’re just gamboling merrily through the timeline here, aren’t we? Wolson wonders if Schreiber knew that Mulroney was planning to file a voluntary disclosure on the money in 1999, and Schreiber tells him he did not, and Wolson immediately directs him to the October 2007 McIntyre interview, which detailed the post-payment tax declaration, during which Schreiber claimed that Revenue Canada had called *both* men to tell them that they had to make a voluntary disclosure. Schreiber says he didn’t know about his *intention* – and claims that he found out about the disclosure at the end of 1999 — from his lawyer.

2:52:10 PM
Ohhh, man, the last five minutes of questions and answers were just ridiculously convoluted and hard to follow, but I think in this one instance, Schreiber is actually right, and Wolson is misunderstanding his response to Linden McIntyre: He wasn’t actually saying that he – Schreiber – got a call from Revenue Canada, he was acting out what he thought *Mulroney* woud have said to his lawyer – that they needed an affidavit from Schreiber, and to file a voluntary disclosure. He wasn’t saying that he, personally, had that conversation with his lawyer.

2:54:07 PM
And onto yet another 1999 meeting – this one just after Christmas, with Fred Doucet, over coffee. Which was not, for the record, arranged by Elmer MacKay, and which came just a few months after Luc Lavoie made some rather harsh comments about Schreiber’s credibility to the CBC, and was promptly sued by Schreiber, along with the corporation.

2:58:28 PM
Turns out that Fred Doucet kept notes from that particular meeting – well, at least they’re contemporaneous this time, which is something – and recalls Schreiber vowing to ‘discover’ Luc Lavoie as part of his court case to find out just who the “we” was who thought he was the “biggest fuck1ng liar in the world”. The notes also apparently included lots of other Karlheinz plots and schemes for revenge, including accusing one woman of sleeping with a member of the German prosecution, and all sorts of other less than entirely seemly legal strategies; although Schreiber doesn’t recall saying them, he admits that it sounds like something he might have said.

Schreiber – who, as per Doucet, was on a fine tear – also mused that Mulroney didn’t know who his real friends were, and should have made Doucet a senator. There were also vague comments about Bear Head and Thyssen and really, is there anyone who *can’t* picture Schreiber saying any of these things?

“Parts of it could have been said,” Schreiber admits, although he denies the bit about the German prosecutor sex scandal. The rest? Nonsense.

Oh, and hey, on that rather dramatic note, it’s time for the afternoon break. So many breaks we get — it’s like being on holiday hours. See you in a few.

3:29:50 PM
Back for the last time today – although likely for not more than half an hour, according to Wolson, who tells the witness that he has just one other area he wants to cover today, and then he’ll suggest that the inquiry break until morning. There’s no way we’re going to be through with Schreiber by the end of this week, as far as I can tell — I mean, this is just the first round.

Anyway, Wolson goes back to the Boxing Day meeting with Fred Doucet – December 26, 1999 – at which Schreiber told Doucet that *if* he had to testify in his Edmonton case, or his extradition, he wouldn’t commit perjury. You know, if Schreiber’s version of what happened is accurate – I know, I know, but *if* – that comment could be read in a number of ways, some of which would suggest that Schreiber was sending a very specific message to Mulroney, using Doucet as a convenient conduit.

The two met again on January 11th – just a couple of weeks later – at the Royal York in Toronto – which, helpful as always, Doucet committed to history via his traditional post-meeting memo. Schreiber tells Wolson that he can barely remember that particular chinway; he can’t remember exactly how it came about, but thinks it had something to do with continuing the discussion. He does point out that the infamous fifth estate broadcast – the one with Luc Lavoie – ran two hours earlier in Nova Scotia, which is how Elmer MacKay was able to give him a heads up on this “terrible” remark from Lavoie, and to reassure him that Mulroney was furious. Schreiber notes that he was more concerned with whether Mulroney had approved of the statement, since he cares about the boss, not the spokesman.

Warming to his tale, Schreiber recalls that he began to get upset, however, when a German journalist told him that he was going to lose his case against the CBC, but that altogether intriguing thread is cut off briskly by Wolson on the grounds of being third or fourth degree hearsay at this point.

Also, Harvey Cashmore will *not* be appearing as witness, apparently.

3:44:56 PM
Apparently, the January 11th meeting ended reasonably amicably — according to Doucet’s notes, that is, and Schreiber doesn’t really remember nor seemingly dispute his account. Schreiber “accepted” Doucet’s explanation that nobody wanted him to perjure himself. The two also discussed Bavarian politics – yes, really – and Helmut Kohl, which raises Wolson’s eyebrow, since – why bring him — Schreiber — all the way to the Royal York to chat about German political scandals? Apparently, because Kohl and Mulroney were good friends. Alright, then.
Schreiber also apparently discussed his rapidly lengthening discovery wishlist, which included Allan Rock and Jean Chretien. As far as Schreiber was concerned, he and Mulroney were “on the same wave length” as far as Stevie Cameron and the Airbus allegations, and was fully prepared to testify. At which point wouldn’t it be inevitable that both he and Mulroney would be asked, under oath, if any money had changed hands? What was going to happen *then*?

Anyway, according to the Doucet note, he wanted to find out what Schreiber ‘had in mind’ when he called Mulroney about the Mirabel meeting. </p

L

3:59:21 PM
Okay, so basically, Wolson goes through the Doucet memo, sentence by sentence, which provides an astonishingly thorough recap of the conversation he ostensibly had with Schreiber, but Schreiber denies each and every quote – which include everything from discussions about possible perjury charges to Doucet’s post-meeting intel report to his former boss, in which he claims that Schreiber is hard up for cash — a suggestion that Schreiber seems to find so bizarre as to be incomprehensible — and that he was making a living off media interviews – $40,000 for one hit, apparently. Suddenly, the penny seems to drop for Schreiber, and he suggests that this is actually a report of a meeting between Doucet and *Pelosi* — not him. Wolson hesitates for a moment, but then points out that the memo also makes reference to him trying to avoid extradiction — so it *has* to be Schreiber, right? Except if I remember correctly, Pelossi *also* had extradition issues – that’s why he had to testify from Switzerland during the Ethics hearings, and isn’t it just like this story that such a tribulation would *not* be a unique identifier?

Anyway, at that point, Wolson decides to wrap up for the day; he promises that he’ll be done with Schreiber midway through the morning session tomorrow, at which point he’ll deliver him into the tender hands of — Guy Pratte. Yikes. Tomorrow is going to be a red-letter day for sure.


 

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