Joe Fontana, mayor of London, Ont., 'confident' in fraud trial
Judge says verdict will handed down on June 6
Joe Fontana was still feeling confident during the second day of his trial for fraud-related charges Tuesday.
The mayor of London, Ont., is accused of using public money to pay for his son's wedding reception at a swanky banquet hall, the Marconi Club, when he was a Liberal MP representing the area.
Fontana is charged with breach of trust, fraud under $5,000 and knowingly using forged documents. He has pleaded not guilty.
Fontana's lawyer Gord Cudmore has been tight lipped about the defence strategy and remained that way Tuesday.
But during his cross examination of a crown witness, Cudmore referred to the $1,700 cheque that forms the core of the case. He indicated it was used in relation to an official visit to London by then-federal finance minister Ralph Goodale in February 2005. The crown doesn't dispute Goodale was in London that day.
The crown contends Fontana altered details on this contract between his family and the Marconi Club to make it look as if the $1,700 was used to book a banquet hall for a government function instead of his son's wedding in June 2005.
Fontana has admitted he altered the contract before submitting it to the House of Commons to be reimbursed. He changed the date of the event, the reason for booking the hall from wedding to reception and deleted his wife's signature and substituted his own.
The accountant for the House of Commons who processed the expense testified that an MP's signature is an important indication that the expense is legitimate. So is a reception — but not a wedding.
The $1,700 was paid by government cheque to the Marconi club even though Fontana had requested the money be reimbursed to him.
The defence will lay out their case on Wednesday. Fontana's lawyer wouldn't say whether his client will take the stand. The judge says he will have a verdict next Friday, June 6.