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May 10, 2005
Did Gagliano Intimidate Corbeil?

Benoit Corbeil made an interesting reference to a phone call from Alfonse Gagliano during his Gomery Inquiry testimony yesterday. According to Corbeil, Gagliano called to dissuade his former associate from testifying, warning him that his reputation was at stake:

The lawyer for a sponsorship inquiry witness said Monday his client felt intimidated after Alfonso Gagliano called him and warned him about his reputation ahead of his potentially damaging testimony.

Former party official Benoit Corbeil told the inquiry Gagliano called his home last month, warning him his reputation would be destroyed if he implicated top Liberals in an alleged illicit financing scheme.

"He said 'listen, Benoit, people will come out against you, unanimously,''' said Corbeil, one-time boss of the party's Quebec wing.

"(He said) 'you'll lose your reputation and you'll lose friends.'''

Corbeil received the call from Gagliano last month after telling reporters that Gagliano knew of illicit money transfers to Liberal Party activists. Gagliano admitted making the call but denied it constituted any threat. However, Corbeil also testified that he had received anonymous phone calls from others who also warned him about risking his reputation if he testified.

The pattern doesn't sound like a rash of unsolicited but well-meaning advice. Gagliano might have meant it that way, but anonymous callers warning of damage to one's reputation sounds more like a threat. Does someone at the heart of Adscam have something on Corbeil, or do they think they can gin up something to make him look bad? Assuming Corbeil is telling the truth about the later calls, it sounds like someone wants to stop the testimony through veiled threats of slander.

As Beryl Wajsman pointed out in his interview with me last night, the Gomery testimony cannot be used to bring actions of slander in Canadian courts based on its mandate from the government. That leaves people like Corbeil and other whistleblowers in a precarious position. They can easily be discredited by other witnesses who get on the stand and simply lie about them, with little risk to those who do so. Perhaps Corbeil has more to worry about than that, too.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 10, 2005 6:02 AM

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Telling a political operator he'll lose his friends is like telling a piano player that he's gonna get his fingers broke. [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 9:46 AM

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