Canadian senator Brazeau hit with cocaine charge

by Reuters
Thursday, 10 April 2014 21:26 GMT

(Adds charges laid, not guilty plea entered, paragraphs 1-3)

OTTAWA, April 10 (Reuters) - Suspended Canadian Senator Patrick Brazeau was arrested on Thursday and charged with assault, possessing cocaine, breaching bail conditions, and uttering threats, CBC News reported.

The CBC report said he was arrested at a home in Gatineau, Quebec, across the river from Ottawa, at about 4 a.m. EDT (0800 GMT).

Brazeau's lawyer and Gatineau police did not return phone calls during the day but CBC said Brazeau had pleaded not guilty.

Brazeau has had other legal troubles since Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed him to the Senate in 2008. Before being appointed, Brazeau had headed a national aboriginal group.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police laid fraud and breach-of-trust charges against Brazeau and former Senator Mac Harb in February that stemmed from claims they made for housing and living expenses. Both men have said they followed Senate rules on claiming expenses and that these rules were unfairly changed retroactively.

The Senate suspended Brazeau and two others without pay in November over the expense claims.

In February 2013, he was charged with assault and sexual assault and freed on bail. He pleaded not guilty but was removed from the Conservative caucus. He had since taken a job as a day manager at an Ottawa strip club.

The scandals have damaged the reputation of the Senate, the upper house of Canada's parliament, whose members are appointed rather than elected. (Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Peter Galloway)

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