Politics

Mike Duffy trial to resume Feb. 22 for closing arguments

The trial of Mike Duffy has adjourned and will resume on Feb. 22 for closing arguments from the Crown attorney and the senator's defence attorney, Donald Bayne.

P.E.I. senator finished testimony Thursday, Crown did not ask about Nigel Wright's $90,000 cheque

Senator Mike Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to expenses he claimed as a senator and later repaid in March 2013 with $90,000 from Nigel Wright. At the time, Wright was then Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The trial of Mike Duffy has adjourned and will resume on Feb.22 for closing arguments from the Crown attorney and the senator's defence attorney, Donald Bayne. 

Justice Charles Vaillancourt said Friday he wants to see written submissions from lawyers on either side a week in advance. He said he hopes that will focus oral arguments and perhaps reduce the two weeks set aside for the wrap-up.

The Crown is expected to present their oral arguments first — a departure from the traditional format of a criminal case.

Testimony ended Thursday when the Crown finished its cross-examination of Duffy.

The prosecutor, Mark Holmes, opted not to ask the P.E.I. senator about the $90,000 cheque Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, wrote to cover his questionable expenses.

Duffy testified that he only discovered Wright had cut the now-infamous cheque after the story was reported in the media. The senator said he thought the Conservative Party had footed the bill for expenses he always claimed were above board, and allowable within the Senate rules.

Bayne also said he would not call another witness, ending months of speculation that he would haul some political bigwigs into the witness box. 

In all, the court heard 60 days of testimony, including eight days from Duffy himself, Bayne's only witness.

Duffy has pleaded not guilty to 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

With files from The Canadian Press

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