Trial turns to the tape - Metro US

Trial turns to the tape

The trial of Larry O’Brien heard the mayor address allegations of purported influence peddling against him, in a recording of his interview with police that was played in court yesterday.

“I never offered him a job, period. I never promised him a job, period … It’s hard for me to fathom how he came up with the inferences he did,” O’Brien said of mayoral rival Terry Kilrea in the April 2007 interview.

O’Brien faces two charges of influence peddling after he allegedly tried to get Kilrea to withdraw from the 2006 municipal election.

In the video, the mayor, accompanied by lawyer Paul LaBarge, was shown answering questions from OPP Det.-Sgt. Brian Mason and Paul Legault in an interview room of the Kanata OPP detachment.

Mason advised him that he was not obligated to make any statements, but anything he did say could be used as evidence in the event of charges.

The video’s sound was somewhat muffled and Crown prosecutor Scott Hutchison asked spectators to avoid making any unnecessary noise as the court strained to hear the interview. Lawyers for the Ottawa Citizen and CBC indicated they would be applying for access to copies of the video.

O’Brien’s lawyer, Michael Edelson, argued against the video’s release, warning that once it was put online by media organizations, it could potentially be appropriated by third parties and manipulated or edited for illegitimate purposes. Judge Douglas Cunningham said he would announce his decision on the video this morning.

The 10th day of the trial began with testimony from Mason, who was the lead investigator on the case.

Edelson quizzed him on perceived inconsistencies in Kilrea’s statements, the details of search warrants and production orders for email and phone records, and possible leaks of sensitive information to the media by Kilrea and others.

The court also heard from Ottawa police Deputy Chief Susan O’Sullivan, whom O’Brien informed of the allegations against him in January 2007.

In order to avoid any perception of conflict of interest that could stem from the mayor being investigated by city police, the case was subsequently referred to the OPP.

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