Patrick Brazeau struck woman, pushed her down stairs, court told
Suspended senator accused of assault, sexual assault following February 2013 incident
A court in Gatineau, Que., today heard disturbing testimony during the first day of a trial for suspended senator Patrick Brazeau, on charges of assault and sexual assault.
The 40-year-old was charged after an incident on Feb. 7, 2013.
The woman earlier testified that Brazeau had spent the previous evening drinking martinis and watching the news on television.
That night, CTV News aired a story revealing Brazeau had used his father's address in a First Nations community to claim an aboriginal income tax exemption. The woman told the court Brazeau received a text message that night from an individual linked to both of them that angered Brazeau and made him become aggressive.
Testimony to continue Tuesday
The woman will continue testifying on Tuesday, and will then be cross-examined.
When Brazeau was charged with assault and sexual assault, he was ousted from the Conservative Party's caucus.
He will be in an Ottawa court starting June 1 for an unrelated matter – the preliminary inquiry into charges of fraud related to his Senate expense claims.
The court has set aside 12 days that month to deal with the proceeding that allows a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial. Brazeau maintains he did nothing wrong and that he followed the rules.
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Brazeau was named to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009.
Fellow senator Duffy to go on trial April 7
Today's trial kicks off several months of court proceedings for suspended and former senators.
Mike Duffy, who was named to the Senate by Harper at the same time as Brazeau, goes on trial April 7 on charges related to inappropriate expenses while serving as a senator.
That trial is scheduled to run through to May 12, and then continue for another 12 days in June. Duffy says his spending was above-board and that he did nothing wrong.
Mac Harb, who was named to the Senate by Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, is scheduled to have a trial Aug. 10-Sept. 4 on charges related to his Senate expenses. Harb also says he followed the rules and he did nothing wrong.
Brazeau's court case today is separate from an April 2014 incident where he 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.
With files from The Canadian Press