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March 3, 2006
Brault Capitulates

Yesterday, key Adscam figure Jean Brault pleaded guilty to almost all of the charges filed against him but curiously chose to fight the conspiracy charge that remained. This curious legal strategy intrigued the Canadian press, who discovered that he did not get a deal from prosecutors in exchange for the plea:

Jean Brault, an advertising executive who founded Groupaction Marketing, has pleaded guilty to five of six fraud-related charges against him in the sponsorship scandal.

Brault is one of three high level executives who face charges in the scandal.

Brault pleaded not guilty to the remaining charge of conspiracy and will go to trial on that charge at a later date.

Brault did not seek a plea bargain, said his lawyer, Jacques Dagenais.

"There was no bargain,'' Dagenais told the Canadian Press after the court appearance. "As you can see the charges are all there.''

This seems rather strange. Why plead guilty to all of the other charges without any agreement on sentencing while planning on fighting the one charge left standing? Why not just fight them all?

No matter how strange that legal strategy may seem, it still doesn't get worse than that chosen by Chuck Guité. The other co-defendant in the indictment told the court yesterday that he planned to represent himself. Guité explained that he cannot afford an attorney for his defense. After all of the information that the Gomery report has found, Guité probably can't afford not to have an attorney.

On the other hand, given the light sentence that Paul Coffin got -- two years in the community and a commitment to speak out on ethics -- perhaps neither of them particularly worry about the adverse consequences of their decisions. Canadian courts do not seem to take corruption very seriously.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 3, 2006 11:46 AM

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