|Bruce Carson is shown in this picture for AlbertaVentrure.com during a photo shoot for Alberta's Most Influential people 2010. (File photo by John Gaucher)
OTTAWA - A former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper will go on trial for influence peddling next summer, almost exactly a year after news broke of the charge being laid by the RCMP.
An agent for 66-year-old Bruce Carson’s lawyer was in court Monday to schedule a five-day trial starting July 22, 2013, in Ottawa. He faces a single count of having committed fraud upon the government.
“He’s going to defend himself,” lawyer Pat McCann said. “He’s going to be pleading not guilty. I don’t think he’s committed any offence.”
Carson, using his Harper connections, is accused of allegedly angling for a multi-million dollar deal to supply water filtration services to First Nations - a deal that would have guaranteed Carson’s escort fiancee 20% of any purchases the government made.
Carson was not a registered lobbyist and would not have been allowed to register as one because insufficient time had elapsed since his departure from Harper’s entourage.
How he even got so close to the prime minister is something of a mystery - he was convicted of five counts of fraud in the 1980s and 1990s.
Harper pleaded ignorance of Carson’s criminal past and court-appointed psychiatric treatments in April 2011, blaming Privy Council Officials for granting his security clearance.
“Had I known about these things, obviously I would not have hired him,” Harper said.
Harper, however, conceded he knew about some of Carson’s skulduggery, including being jailed and disbarred by the Law Society for defrauding two clients.