Robocall suspect pleads innocence

Michael Sona, dressed as Pierre Poutine, poses with an unidentified reveler in this undated Twitter...

Michael Sona, dressed as Pierre Poutine, poses with an unidentified reveler in this undated Twitter handout photo. (Handout)

Mark Dunn, Senior National Reporter

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

The campaign staffer at the centre of voter suppression allegations in southwestern Ontario is speaking out after eight months of silence.

But Michael Sona's interviews this week left key questions hanging about what some media, politicians and anti-Conservative groups say was an elaborate plot to fix the 2011 election in Guelph. No charges have been laid.

While Sona denied any wrongdoing, he did confirm to the Huffington Post that he solicited advice from senior Conservative campaign officials on how to make untraceable robocalls.

It was seeking this advice that led to him being identified by Conservative sources as the prime suspect in the robocall affair. Guelph, Ont., voters complained they received automated calls on election day informing them their voting station had changed.

A subsequent investigation by RackNine owner Matt Meier revealed the same IP address that was used by Conservative candidate Marty Burke's campaign was also used by Pierre Poutine — the name used to book the fake calls.

RackNine provides automated telephone services for a variety of clients.

When questioned on CBC's Power and Politics about this, Sona offered the following explanation: "Well, I'm not really a tech guy," he told the interviewer before suggesting that deputy campaign manager Andrew Prescott "maybe left his computer open and someone else could have done something.

"I'm not sure about the specifics of it. I know that he's claimed as well that he's innocent. He's told me the same thing. I've known him for a very long time. I take him at his word when he says that."

Sona also claimed he wasn't contacted by Sun Media prior to being named on Sun News Television as a suspect. Sun Media disputed that allegation, saying journalists tried to contact Sona, but he refused to respond.

While he laid low over the past several months, Sona's image did pop up on Twitter in recent days celebrating Halloween by hanging a cellphone around his neck and wearing a name tag identifying himself as Pierre Poutine.

The Liberals won the Guelph seat in a landslide last year.

 


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