Emails don't mention incentives, says mayor O'Brien's defence

OTTAWA - None of the email exchanges between Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien and his chief accuser in an influence-peddling case discuss cash changing hands or a federal appointment, O'Brien's lawyer noted in court Thursday.

OTTAWA - None of the email exchanges between Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien and his chief accuser in an influence-peddling case discuss cash changing hands or a federal appointment, O'Brien's lawyer noted in court Thursday.

After almost four days of cross-examination of star witness Terry Kilrea, O'Brien's lawyer finally began shifting to the substance of Kilrea's allegations at the Ontario Superior Court trial.

"There is not a single email between you and Mr. O'Brien which discusses anything concerning money or an appointment," said Edelson.

Rather, the emails discuss Kilrea's employment difficulties with Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General, where Kilrea worked as a sheriff's officer.

Kilrea has testified he was being pressured by his employer to drop out of the 2006 municipal race due to a potential conflict of interest. He feared he was going to be fired.

It was during this period that Kilrea alleges O'Brien told him he could arrange a five-year appointment to the National Parole Board. O'Brien allegedly told Kilrea that the appointment could be arranged through Conservative cabinet minister John Baird.

Kilrea subsequently emailed Baird, who responded that he knew nothing of the matter but offered to meet Kilrea in person.

"All of the emails between you and O'Brien were largely the MAG (ministry employment) issue, and the emails between you and Baird were the alleged appointment issue and the MAG issue," said Edelson.

"But what is the subject of this case - namely the appointment issue - there isn't a single email on that subject copied to Mr. O'Brien by you."

O'Brien's defence appears to be to narrow the evidence to Kilrea's word and memory - both of which have proven problematic during four days of cross-examination. O'Brien's lawyer has relentlessly attacked Kilrea's credibility, tactics and motivations.

Edelson used letters from Kilrea's employer to suggest he had dramatically exaggerated, if not fabricated, the threat to his continued employment.

"This was just the start of your commencing another one of your campaigns in the media to portray yourself as poor, downtrodden Terry," said Edelson.

Edelson spent most of Thursday morning examining how Kilrea's sworn affidavit detailing the alleged offer ended up in the public domain.

Kilrea maintained on the witness stand that his common-law wife leaked the affidavit without his knowledge.

Edelson was incredulous, saying "your fingerprints were all over this."

O'Brien has pleaded not guilty to two counts of influence peddling. The trial is being heard by judge alone in Ontario Superior Court.

 
 
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