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Updated: Thu, 17 Jul 2014 07:46:10 GMT | By The Canadian Press, cbc.ca

Mike Duffy to be charged by RCMP, lawyer says



Senator Mike Duffy leaves a meeting of the Senate Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee on Parliament Hill Thurday May 9, 2013 in Ottawa. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

Senator Mike Duffy leaves a meeting of the Senate Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration committee on Parliament Hill Thurday May 9, 2013 in Ottawa. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

The RCMP has decided to lay charges against Mike Duffy, according to a statement issued by the suspended senator's lawyer late Wednesday.

- WATCH | The Rise and Fall of Mike Duffy

Donald Bayne did not specify what the charges will be, but stressed that his client is "innocent of any criminal wrong-doing."

"We are confident that when the full story is told, as it will be, and shown to be supported by many forms of evidence, it will be clear that Sen. Duffy is innocent of any criminal wrong-doing," said Bayne.

The Senate voted last fall to suspend the former Conservative senator from Prince Edward Island as part of an ongoing controversy over disputed living expenses.

The RCMP has been investigating the housing claims and a $90,000 payment made to Duffy by Nigel Wright, Stephen Harper's former chief of staff, so Duffy could pay back the disputed claims.

The RCMP said in April that no charges would be laid against Wright, who resigned as Harper's right-hand man after it was disclosed he gave Duffy $90,000.

Duffy 'to defend fully and fairly,' lawyer says

Bayne said the evidence will show Duffy "did not want to participate in Nigel Wright's and the PMO's repayment scenario," which he contends was "concocted for purely political purposes."

Bayne added Duffy "intends to defend fully and fairly and to show that the truth and innocence are on his side."

"Sen. Duffy is thankful that the awful 16 months of waiting through a protracted and highly public police investigation is finally over, and we can move on to an impartial forum and fair hearing," Bayne said, adding the former senator has "never had a fair hearing" in the Senate or in the media.

Bayne also said in his statement that Duffy has undergone a second open-heart surgery since the scandal erupted, and "still has serious heart problems."

The Globe and Mail reported late Wednesday that the RCMP was expected to lay charges against Duffy on Thursday.

Duffy, along with fellow former Conservatives Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin, was suspended from the Senate last November over expense claims.

Liberal Mac Harb resigned from the Senate in August after paying back $231,000 for ineligible housing and travel expenses.

Harb and Brazeau face criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust, while Wallin has not been charged.

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