OTTAWA - The RCMP has decided to file charges against Mike Duffy, according to a statement issued by the suspended senator's lawyer late Wednesday.
Donald Bayne did not specify what the charges will be, but insisted that his client did not commit a crime.
''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 a $90,000 cheque.
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 also said Duffy ''intends to defend fully and fairly and to show that the truth and innocence are on his side.''
The lawyer said Duffy is ''thankful that the awful 16 months of waiting'' is over and that the former senator has ``never had a fair hearing'' in the Senate or in the media.
The Globe and Mail reported late Wednesday that the RCMP was expected to announce the 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.
Text of a statement issued Thursday by Sen. Mike Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, prior to the formal laying of criminal charges by the RCMP:
“This has been a difficult year for Mike and Heather Duffy, financially, emotionally and for Mike, health wise. He has had to undergo a second open-heart surgery; required serious follow-up (invasive) medical procedures at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and he still has serious heart problems.
Nevertheless, 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.
To date, Sen. Duffy has never had a fair hearing, either in The Senate or in the media.
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.
Despite Sen. Duffy’s serious on-going health problems, which compromise his strength, and despite his limited resources, he intends to defend fully and fairly and to show that the truth and innocence are on his side.
Those — including many in the media — who have been so eager and quick over the past year and a half to malign and even libel Sen. Duffy without his ever having had a fair hearing, should slow down their rush to judgment and let fair process determine this matter.
I am sure that I am not the only Canadian who will now wonder openly, how what was not a crime or bribe when Nigel Wright paid it on his own initiative, became however mysteriously, a crime or bribe when received by Sen. Duffy.
The evidence will show, that Sen. Duffy did not want to participate in Nigel Wright’s and the PMO’s repayment scenario, which they concocted for purely political purposes.
There is much that is offensive here. But the evidence will show that it did not emanate from Sen. Duffy.“