Duffy trial to stretch past allotted time

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OTTAWA – The Mike Duffy trial in Ottawa was scheduled to wrap up on June 19, but with only two witnesses called in the opening week, the finish line is being pushed back.

The suspended senator and former Conservative faces 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery related to expenses and contracts he signed.

Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, has grilled both witnesses extensively about Senate rules as he attempts to show that his client operated within the system as it exists.

But with dozens of people expected to testify, Ontario court Justice Charles Vaillancourt says he doesn’t anticipate the trial ending within the allotted period.

This mean there could be days spent in court this summer, or through the election campaign in the fall, or even an extension into next year.

A trial stretching into June means the details of the Auditor General’s forensic audit of all senators due that month could be referenced in court.

In court on Wednesday, Bayne continued his cross-examination of Senate human resources officer Sonia Makhlouf over $65,000 in contracts awarded to a company owned by Duffy’s friend Gerald Donohue.