Nova Scotia spending scandal trial to begin
HALIFAX - A former Liberal cabinet minister charged in Nova Scotia's spending scandal is expected to stand trial later today.
Russell MacKinnon pleaded not guilty last May to charges of fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents.
Five days have been set aside for his judge-only trial at the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
Defence lawyer Joel Pink says he won't decide what witnesses to call, if any, until the Crown completes its case.
MacKinnon was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1988 to represent the riding of Cape Breton West and later became labour minister before quitting politics in 2006.
He was one of four politicians charged in February 2011 following an investigation by Nova Scotia's auditor general into constituency allowance spending.
Former Liberal Dave Wilson was sentenced last April after admitting to defrauding the public purse of nearly $61,000. He was released from custody in August after serving four months of a nine-month sentence.
Richard Hurlburt, a former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, was sentenced last July to a year of house arrest after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and breach of trust.
Independent member Trevor Zinck is charged with theft over $5,000, fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. His trial is scheduled to begin in June.