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Justin Trudeau Suddenly Has a Political Crisis on His Hands

Canada's former attorney general accuses him of trying to improperly influence big case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2019 11:51 AM CST
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters in Montreal on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.   (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
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(Newser) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is up for re-election in eight months, and he's suddenly facing the biggest political scandal of his career. The issue made national headlines Wednesday when Trudeau's former attorney general testified before a parliamentary panel and accused the prime minister and his top aides of exerting inappropriate pressure on her to go easy on a huge, politically influential company accused of corruption. The details:

  • The issue: It involves the engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, which is based in the key province of Quebec. Canadian prosecutors have charged the company with fraud and bribery over its business dealings in Libya, reports the BBC. The company wants to settle instead of going to trial.
  • The pressure: Former AG Jody Wilson-Raybould said top Trudeau aides pressured her in the final months of 2018 to agree to a settlement. She recounts about 10 tense meetings and 10 phone calls. “I experienced a consistent and sustained effort by many people within the government to seek to politically interfere in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion." However, she characterized the pressure as inappropriate, not illegal, reports the New York Times. Wilson-Raybould refused to interfere in the case, and it remains set for trial.

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