Lawyer suggests Patrick Brazeau can get his Senate job back despite legal woes
Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau returns to the courthouse in Ottawa following a break to attend the trial for suspended senator Mike Duffy as a member of the public on Thursday, April 9, 2015. (Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Melanie Marquis, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 1, 2015 1:56PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 1, 2015 4:20PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau is angling for a political comeback as early as after this fall's federal election, his lawyer told reporters Friday.
"Of course he wants to come back," Christian Deslauriers said as a date was set for Brazeau's trial on fraud and breach of trust stemming from his Senate housing expenses.
"Presently, he is presumed innocent in all of his cases."
Deslauriers suggested the embattled Brazeau could return because the expulsion motion adopted by the Senate in 2013 would no longer be in effect with the dissolution of Parliament.
"Once the election is called and the assembly is dissolved, then all the motions are obsolete and have no effect anymore," Deslauriers said.
He said he's not sure how the Senate will handle the issue -- whether Brazeau would begin earning a salary again or whether the upper chamber would bring a new expulsion motion.
"It's a grey zone for now, we don't know," Deslauriers said. "But technically once the election is called, Mr. Brazeau is not suspended anymore."
Brazeau's trial related to his Senate expenses was set for March 29, 2016, before judge alone.
The lawyer is confident about his client's legal chances given what has emerged so far at the trial of fellow ousted senator Mike Duffy.
Deslauriers said it seems to be clear the definition of principal and secondary residences -- which is at the heart of the charges against Brazeau -- is fuzzy at best.
A verdict in the Duffy trial could be rendered by then and could have an impact on Brazeau's case.
"It's definitely more realistic to think that if a judge was to render a decision (in Duffy's case) saying the residency issue is unclear ... then I don't see how someone could wilfully breach or do anything illegal," Deslauriers said.
"You have to have specific intention to defraud -- fraud is hard to prove because you have to prove a person's intention."
Deslauriers says his client is preparing his defence and has heard he's working on a book, but isn't sure what it's about.
He said Brazeau is in good spirits and is preparing for the birth of his fourth child in October.
Brazeau has two other pending criminal cases against him in Quebec.