Patrick Brazeau set to plead guilty to simple assault, cocaine charges

Patrick Brazeau, the former Conservative senator first dropped by his party and then suspended by his Senate colleagues in 2013, appears set to settle some of his legal troubles.

Criminal fraud trial set to begin next year over Senate expenses charges

Patrick Brazeau, seen here at the Gatineau courthouse last June during his trial on charges of assault and sexual assault, appears set to plead guilty to a charge of simple assault. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Patrick Brazeau, the former Conservative senator first dropped by his party and then suspended by his Senate colleagues in 2013, appears set to settle some of his legal troubles.

Brazeau is expected to plead guilty to one count of simple assault, as well as a separate charge of possession of cocaine, in a Quebec court room next week.

His guilty pleas could mean an absolute discharge and no criminal record.

Brazeau was on trial for assault and sexual assault related to an incident at a Gatineau, Que. residence in February 2013. The trial was set to resume next Tuesday.

The cocaine charge is separate, arising from an April 2014 incident where Brazeau originally was charged with assault, possession of cocaine, uttering threats and breaching bail conditions following an altercation involving a man and a woman at a home in Gatineau.

Neither the Crown prosecutor nor Brazeau's defence lawyer had any comment about negotiations towards a plea agreement.

Senate fraud trial ahead

Brazeau still faces more time in court. His criminal trial on fraud charges arising from disputed Senate living expenses is scheduled for early 2016.

With the dissolution of Parliament for the federal election, Brazeau's suspension has ended and he's now on a leave of absence. He's now back on the Senate payroll, although wages are being garnisheed to recover funds the Senate's investigation deems to have been improperly reimbursed for his residence.

The Senate may vote again to suspend him when it returns later this fall.

Brazeau claimed expenses as if he was living in Maniwaki, Que. but was found by the Senate to be living in the National Capital Region, in Gatineau.

The rules around disqualifying senators say that he automatically vacates his seat if he's "attainted of treason or convicted of felony or of any infamous crime."

Brazeau, 40, was named to the Senate in 2009 by Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. He was the former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which represents those living off-reserve.

A separate 2014 charge of impaired care or control of a motor vehicle remains outstanding against Brazeau.

With files from Rosemary Barton