National Newswatch

Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, left the Ottawa courthouse Wednesday with his two personal lawyers and a look of relief, setting the stage for a potentially explosive testimony from the next witness at Sen. Mike Duffy’s trial: Ben Perrin, Harper’s former legal adviser.

Perrin, set to begin testifying Thursday, is expected to tell the trial that Harper’s current chief of staff, Ray Novak, knew from the start that Wright had secretly paid Duffy’s $90,000 expense bill.

In a statement last year to RCMP detectives investigating the Duffy affair, Perrin said that Novak, Harper’s closest and longest-serving adviser, was on a conference call in March 2013 when Wright first revealed his intention to secretly pay the money.

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