Trial begins for former N.L. cabinet minister accused in spending scandal

Staff ~ Transcontinental Media
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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Crown has reduced the amount that a former Newfoundland cabinet minister is accused of fraudulently overspending in constituency allowances.
Jim Walsh's trial began today with an agreed statement of facts that lowered the amount by more than $93,000 to over $159,000.
Walsh is one of four former politicians and one former civil servant who have been charged in a legislative spending scandal.
The former Liberal tourism minister has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud over $5,000, breach of trust and fraud on the government.
The 12-page agreed statement of facts filed in provincial court states that signatures on some constituency claim forms appeared to be photocopies.
Ed Byrne, a former cabinet minister, was sentenced in April to two years less a day in jail after pleading guilty to two fraud-related charges.

Geographic location: ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland

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