The annotated Mike Duffy: How do his explosive pre-trial claims stack up against the evidence so far?

To date, they remain Sen. ’s only public statements on the controversy that has engulfed his political career for the last two years: A thundering 2,224 word address to the Upper House on Oct. 22, 2013, which he gave in response to the ultimately successful campaign launched by his former Conservative caucus colleagues to suspend him from the Chamber; and a followup, which he delivered a week later, as a rebuttal to the “avalanche of untruths and character assassination” that had ensued.

Duffy spoke of a “monstrous political scheme” – one hatched, he claimed, within the highest echelons of the Prime Minister’s Office – to force him to repay tens of thousands of dollars in living expenses that he believed he was fully entitled to collect, or risk being declared unqualified to hold his seat as a Senate representative for Prince Edward Island.

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“I made one last effort,” he recalled. “I said, I don’t believe I owe anything, and besides which, I don’t have $90,000.”

According to Duffy, the response from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s then-chief of staff, , was: “Don’t worry … I’ll write the cheque. Let the lawyers handle the details; you just follow the plan.”

Duffy, of course, now faces 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery stemming from his travel and living expenses, as well as the $90,000 payment.

Over the course of his trial so far, we’ve heard testimony from Wright and other PMO officials involved in the backroom negotiations, and been granted a rare glimpse at the inner workings of Langevin Block through thousands of pages of intra-office emails submitted as evidence.

Throughout it all, Duffy has remained silent, although his lawyer, Donald Bayne, has repeatedly hinted that his client will eventually testify.

Until he does, here’s an overview of how Duffy’s explosive allegations – which were made under parliamentary privilege – have stacked up against the evidentiary record so far. (Except where noted, all Duffy’s claims quoted are from Oct. 22, 2013.)

Jean Levac / Ottawa CitizenJean Levac / Ottawa CitizenNigel Wright arrives at the Ottawa Court House to testify in the Mike Duffy trial, August 17, 2015.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “On December 3, 2012, the Ottawa Citizen ran a story asking how I could claim expenses for my house in Kanata when I had owned the home there before I was appointed to the Senate. The inference was clear: I was doing something wrong.

“I immediately contacted Nigel Wright, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, and explained that I was doing nothing improper.

“Nigel Wright emailed me back, saying he’d had my expenses checked and he was satisfied that my accounts were in order, that all was in compliance with Senate rules. In fact, he said, there were several other senators in the same situation. This was in December 2012. Mr. Wright said the story is a smear.”

CONFIRMED: Email archives submitted as evidence at trial show that Duffy did indeed send an email at 8:51 a.m. on Dec. 4, under the heading “Smear — Background FYI,” in which he claimed the story was a “smear on me from that former Frank employee, Glen McGregor.”

In it, Duffy states that Sen. David Tkachuk – who is, he notes, chair of the Senate Internal Economy Committee, “says every out of town Senator does this” and “the rules have been followed.”

Although the full recipient list is hidden, Nigel Wright emails Duffy back 14 minutes later:

“Mike, I am told that you have complied with all the applicable rules and that there would be several Senators with similar arrangements.”

“I think that the Standing Committee might review those rules,” he adds.

“This sure seams to be a smear,” he concludes.

“I don’t know whether it is actionable, my guess is that it is not. This reporter is usually careful that way.”

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “So after caucus on February 13 of this year, I met the Prime Minister and Nigel Wright, just the three of us. I said that despite the smear in the papers, I had not broken the rules, but the Prime Minister wasn’t interested in explanations or the truth. It’s not about what you did; it’s about the perception of what you did that has been created in the media. The rules are inexplicable to our base.

“I argued I’m just following the rules like all of the others. But it didn’t work. I was ordered by the Prime Minister: Pay the money back, end of discussion. Nigel Wright was present throughout, just the three of us.”

CONFIRMED IN PART, BUT WITH SIGNIFICANT OMISSIONS: Testifying before the court last month, Wright confirmed that a conversation had taken place between himself, Duffy and the prime minister following a caucus meeting, and gave a similar account of how the impromptu chat unfolded, as well as Harper’s response, particularly the reference to the rules being “inexplicable” to the Conservative base.

There were, however, some key differences.

In Wright’s version of events, however, it sounded as if Duffy initially seemed to be attempting to have a one-on-one-chat with the prime minister – despite his own offer, recorded in email, to meet with the senator “on the margins of caucus.”

By that point, Wright and other senior PMO officials were deeply involved in negotiations with Duffy and his lawyer, Janice Payne, over repayment of those expenses. In his testimony, Wright suggested that he had approached the pair in order to argue his side of the case — namely, that Duffy would have to repay the money.

Duffy, meanwhile, neglects to mention that he had, in fact, agreed – albeit tentatively, and conditional on his own requirements being met – to reimburse the Senate for his living expenses.

In fact, according to the emails, by that point the only major sticking point in settling the matter, at least as far as the PMO was concerned, was the prospect that the Senate internal economy committee would ask an independent auditor – Deloitte, as it transpired – to conduct an external review of Duffy’s case, as well as those involving senators Patrick Brazeau, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin.

(At this point, it’s worth recalling that both the PMO and, presumably, Duffy, were still relying on the initial estimate of $32,000, as the per diems had not yet been added to the total.)

All of which is to say that, although Duffy’s claim to having had a meeting involving “just the three of us” appears to have been borne out by the evidence, he left out some fairly critical context on the degree to which negotiations over repayment were ongoing at that time.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandConservative Senator David Tkachuk

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “(The PMO said) the Conservative majority on the steering committee of the Board of Internal Economy, Senator Tkachuk and Senator Stewart Olsen, would issue a press release declaring me unqualified to sit in the Senate.

“However, if you do what we want, the Prime Minister will publicly confirm that you’re entitled to sit as a senator from P.E.I. and you won’t lose your seat. Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen are ready to make that press release now.

“I said: They don’t have the power to do that. He (Nigel Wright) said: Agree to what we want right now or else.”

UNCONFIRMED: Duffy makes explicit reference to this “threat” in the Feb. 20 memo to his lawyer, Janice Payne and her associate, Chris Rootham, that would eventually find its way into the hands of CTV reporter Bob Fife.

In it, he says that Wright told him that the internal economy steering committee “would trump Deloitte by saying that their analysis … showed I was in violation of the rules and I wasn’t eligible to sit as a Senator from PEI.”

But while the email record does reveal considerable discussion between Duffy and his lawyer and various senior PMO officials – as well as even more amongst those PMO officials and their Senate colleagues – around that same time period, at no point is there any suggestion that the Conservatives would use their committee majority to “declare [him] unqualified to sit in the Senate.”

In fact, they seem to be scrambling to seal off any potential challenge on those lines, including looking at how to work with the Senate rules committee to “clarify and simplify the rules and get us away from other impossible residency issues like how many days spent in one day or another.”

(That change appears to have ultimately fallen by the wayside after the prime minister nixed the idea in favour of simply declaring that anyone who owned the requisite $4,000 in real property a residency of the province they represent.)

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandNigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, arrives at the Ottawa courthouse Friday Aug. 14, 2015 for day three of testifying at the Mike Duffy trial.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “I made one last effort. I said: I don’t believe I owe anything, and besides which, I don’t have $90,000. Don’t worry, Nigel said, I’ll write the cheque. Let the lawyers handle the details; you just follow the plan and we’ll keep Carolyn Stewart Olsen and David Tkachuk at bay.”

CONTRADICTED BY OTHER EVIDENCE: This particular passage is confusing, as it appears to be – at the very least – out of sequence, in terms of the chronology of events.

To begin with, it wasn’t until Feb. 26, 2013, that Wright – and everyone else, with the possible exception of Duffy – learned that the total owing was actually $90,000.

As for Wright allegedly telling Duffy that he would “write the cheque,” there is no independent record of such a conversation taking place between him and the former chief of staff – or even a reference to such a conversation.

In his Oct. 28 remarks, Duffy recalled Wright “working the phones” while he was “back home” on Prince Edward Island – after, he noted, “the prime minister had decided we were going to do this nefarious scheme,” which also suggests that it took place after Feb. 26.

“(Wright) even said he would pay the $90,000,” Duffy told the chamber. “All I had to do was to go along and do as I was told.”

Meanwhile, in a May 16 email to Woodcock – which was sent after CTV broke the story that it was Wright who refunded the money – Duffy claimed that he only learned the identity of the “donor”when he was informed by Novak, as he hadn’t wanted to know before that “because I did not want to be beholding (sic) to anyone.”

Jean Levac / Ottawa CitizenJean Levac / Ottawa CitizenConservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton at the Supreme Court of , December 13, 2012

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “When I insisted on written guarantees that repaying money I didn’t owe would not be seen by the Senate as a guilty plea, Nigel Wright arranged to have my legal fees paid. That is right. One cheque from Nigel Wright? No, ladies and gentlemen: there were two cheques, at least two cheques. The PMO … had the Conservative Party’s lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, pay my legal fees. He paid for my lawyer – Arthur Hamilton – with a cheque for $13,560.”

CONFIRMED: In his Oct. 28 rebuttal, Duffy expanded on his original account of the repayment negotiations, and revealed that Wright had also arranged to have his legal fees paid. Documents tabled in court confirm that on April 3, 2013, Hamilton sent a trust cheque from his law firm to the law firm of Duffy’s lawyer, Janice Payne, for $13,560 “representing payment of your invoice dated March 4, 2013.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “Elaborate undertakings were negotiated among the several lawyers involved in this. They were taking instructions from their clients – at least two lawyers from the PMO, one I know of from the Conservative Party and my own lawyer.”

CONFIRMED (EXCEPT FOR A MINOR MISCOUNT): So far, the record shows that, unless we’re counting Wright, only one PMO-affiliated lawyer involved in the process – former senior legal adviser Ben Perrin – knew, but Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton does make a cameo appearance, and Duffy’s lawyer, Payne, is referenced throughout.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “An undertaking was made by the PMO, with the agreement of the Senate leadership, that I would not be audited by Deloitte, that I’d be given a pass, and further, that if this phony scheme ever became public, Senator LeBreton, the Leader of the Government of the day, would whip the Conservative caucus to prevent my expulsion from the chamber.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: Emails and testimony submitted to court confirm the existence of a tentative deal to recommend that Deloitte drop its (then already ongoing) audit of Duffy’s expenses upon repayment, and a more firm commitment that LeBreton would “whip the Conservative caucus” in the face of any formal challenge to his qualification to sit as a senator for Prince Edward Island.

That was, however, before it became clear that Deloitte would be unlikely to comply with any such request – although they would likely note that the money had been refunded. (Also, at no point did anyone refer to it as a “phony scheme.”)

Peter J. Thompson/National PostPeter J. Thompson/National PostSenator Mike Duffy’s home in Cavendish P.E.I.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “On February 21, after all of the threats and intimidation, I reluctantly agreed to go along with this dirty scheme … Early on, in those discussions with the PMO, the PMO experts predicted the media would ask, ‘Where did you get the $90,000?’ When they heard that I had been using a line of credit to renovate my home in Cavendish, they jumped right on it. It was suggested I go to the RBC, borrow the cash to pay off that line of credit, and then, when the media asked, ‘Where did you get the money to pay the $90,000?,’ the PMO told me to say, ‘My wife and I took out a loan at the Royal Bank.’

UNCONFIRMED: There is no record of any discussion of a line of credit or a bank loan – either with Duffy, or amongst the PMO and Senate staffers involved in drafting his media statements and responses to questions, on or around Feb. 21 or at any other time. The sole reference comes in the Feb. 20 memo from Duffy to his lawyers, in which he says he told Wright that if Deloitte were to find against him, he’d “call (his) bank.”

The next time anyone brings up a possible loan is May 14, when Fife – who by that point had a copy of the memo – asked the PMO if Wright had co-signed a loan for Duffy.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “Given all of those emails, you can imagine my shock when I heard there’s not a single document about all of this in the PMO, not one. In response to an access to information request, CBC was told there’s not one single document related to this matter in the PMO. Well, if they’re not in the PMO, they’re in the hands of my lawyers and I suspect in the hands of the RCMP.”

CONFIRMED: If there’s one thing that has been conclusively, definitively established throughout the course of the Duffy trial to date, it is the existence of a voluminous archive of emails from PMO officials, Senate staffers, lawyers and Duffy himself on how to deal with the expense controversy, all of which did, eventually, find its way onto the public record, both in evidence submitted by the Crown – and obtained by the RCMP—as well as the defence.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “Are the police looking at possible criminal charges? Are they wondering about bribery, threats and extortion of a sitting legislator?”

CONFIRMED: As we now know, the RCMP were indeed “looking at possible criminal charges” – although to date, the only ones that have proceeded were laid against Duffy.

Fred Chartrand / The Canadian PressFred Chartrand / The Canadian PressSen. Carolyn Stewart Olsen

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “While all of this was going on, in the interim, despite the big agreement, I was sent off to Deloitte, not by the Board of Internal Economy but by the special select subcommittee. Not Senator Marshall’s group, no, no. I wasn’t sent there. I was sent straight off to Deloitte by Senators Stewart Olsen, Tkachuk and Furey — straight to Deloitte.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: Although it’s not entirely clear what, exactly, Duffy meant by the “big agreement,” Duffy’s file was added to the Deloitte audit list on Feb. 7, at which point the negotiations between Duffy, PMO and various Senate players were still underway.

On Feb. 11, LeBreton and Liberal Senate Leader James Cowan wrote a joint letter to the Senate internal economy, in which they asked the committee to “interview each Senator who has claimed a secondary residence allowance to confirm the legitimacy of such claims” – and, if a senator is “unable to convince” them of the validity of their claims, require them to “repay immediately all monies so paid with interest.”

This prompts Duffy to email Wright to ask what the letter means “for our talks.”

It isn’t until Feb. 22 that the agreement appears to have been finalized – and that, according to Wright, “we are good to go from the PM.”

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “And then, when Deloitte wanted to see everything, including my wife’s bank account, I was told in the reading room in the back: They’ve got all they need. It doesn’t matter. Don’t bother.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: It’s clear from the email chain that, although Duffy appears to have been rebuffing Deloitte’s requests for information throughout the process, there seemed to be little enthusiasm from within PMO to suggest any change to that strategy.

According to a March 21 email quoting Sen. Irving Gerstein (who had been dealing with a contact at Deloitte and feeding information back to the PMO), the lack of conclusive findings would be because “Duffy’s lawyer has not provided them anything,” which would be stated in their eventual report.

In response to that news, PMO official Patrick Rogers suggested – to Perrin, Novak, Woodcock and Wright – “that the Senator continue to not engage with Deloitte.” Perrin warns that Duffy may want to “ go in and fight this out again with Deloitte,” and notes that “the optics look really bad on it.”

Wright, meanwhile, cautions his colleagues against explicitly instructing Payne on the wording of the reply to Deloitte, commenting – somewhat presciently – that “we cannot trust them never to say that PMO told them not to respond to (Deloitte’s) requests for information.

Adrian Wyld / The Canadian PressAdrian Wyld / The Canadian PressThree auditors from Deloitte, the firm that crafted the report, faced a grilling from members the Senate’s Board of Internal Economy committee who want to know just how independent the Mike Duffy audit really was

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “After combing my living expense claims, my travel claims, Senate air travel, my cell phone records and Senate AMEX, Deloitte found that I had not violated the Senate rules.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: At the very least, it’s fair to describe this as an extremely generous interpretation of the Deloitte report, which concluded that there was indeed a “lack of clarity” in the rules regarding primary and secondary residence.

“As such, we are not able to assess the status of the primary residence declared by Senator Duffy against existing regulations and guidelines,” the auditors noted.

However, they pointed out that Duffy had not provided “certain financial and calendar information,” and had not responded to a request for a meeting – and that, although he did offer to meet with them in April, the Senate sub-committee nixed that proposal, as they believed it would further delay the process.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean KilpatrickConservative Leader Stephen Harper talks to his chief of staff Ray Novak at a campaign stop in Vancouver, B.C. on Aug. 12, 2015.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “Then, in May, after someone leaked selected excerpts of a confidential email I had sent to my lawyer in February, in which I voiced my opposition and concern about the deal, the PMO was back with a vengeance. I was called at home in Cavendish by Ray Novak, senior assistant to the Prime Minister.

“He had with him Senator LeBreton, Leader of the Government in the Senate. Senator LeBreton was emphatic: The deal was off.

“If I didn’t resign from the Conservative caucus within 90 minutes, I’d be thrown out of the caucus immediately, without a meeting, without a vote. In addition, she said, if I didn’t quit the caucus immediately, I’d be sent to the Senate Ethics Committee, with orders from the leadership to throw me out of the Senate.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: As yet, the identity of the individual who “leaked selected excerpts” of the “confidential email” is unknown, but the frantic flurry of email from PMO officials to Duffy – and amongst each other – that were triggered by the May 14 CTV News report on the contents would certainly seem to back up this account of events, although it’s worth noting that Duffy didn’t actually announce his resignation until the evening of May 16.

As for the phone conversations between Novak, LeBreton and Duffy, as yet, only Duffy has shared his account of the event.

Wayne Cuddington, Postmedia News Wayne Cuddington, Postmedia News Marjorie LeBreton

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “Let me be clear: I’ve violated no laws. I’ve followed the rules, and I’ve got a ton of documentation, including a two-page memo from Senator LeBreton’s office about it, and I never received a single note from Senate Finance or the leadership that suggested anything in my travels was amiss.”

CONFIRMED IN PART: LeBreton staffer Chris Montgomery did, indeed, prepare a memo on residency – although in that case, he was focused on constitutional qualification, and not the primary and secondary residency allowances. As yet, there has been no direct evidence that Duffy himself “received a single note from Senate finance” on his travel expenses, although his former staffers did testify to the occasional issue being raised over specific claims, and Duffy himself acknowledged occasional minor errors in his Oct. 28 speech.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / Adrian WyldTHE CANADIAN PRESS / Adrian WyldChair of Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce Irving Gerstein is seen before committee Wednesday Nov. 20, 2013 in Ottawa.

DUFFY’S CLAIM: “In fact, those on the other side will remember how often I was lauded by the Prime Minister, in a weekly meeting, for all of the travelling I was doing and all of the assistance I was providing Senator Gerstein, who has been an honourable man throughout this sad affair.”

CONFIRMED: Several witnesses have confirmed the prime minister praising Duffy’s willingness to hit the road on the party’s behalf.

About Kady O'Malley, Ottawa Citizen