Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown calls Premier Wynne's legal threats 'baseless'

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown calls Premier Wynne's legal threats 'baseless'”

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown is refusing to apologize to Premier Kathleen Wynne despite her threat of a libel action against him for saying she was on "trial" in the Sudbury byelection bribery case.

Both have pleaded not guilty at the trial in Sudbury, Ont., to offering would-be candidate Andrew Olivier a job or appointment to get him to step aside for Wynne's preferred candidate in a 2015 byelection in the city. "Regrettably Kathleen Wynne compounded this sorry spectacle with baseless legal threats against me; threats that will be ignored", he said.

Protesters greeted the premier outside the courthouse on Cedar Street, monotonously chanting "Liar, liar, trousers on fire" as Wynne made a brief statement to the throng of assembled reporters (the gist of the statement being she said everything she was going to say in court).

On Wednesday, he served Brown with a letter stating that he "made a statement about the premier of Ontario that is false and defamatory".

Wynne's lawyer, Jack Siegel told CP24 that if Brown merely misspoke, he should own up to that, but not call his client's concerns "baseless". "Your statement is false and misleading and appears to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne", he wrote.

However, Siegel did not confirm if that lawsuit would be launched following Brown's rebuff. Wynne is considered a witness in the case and testified in a courtroom for hours Wednesday.

The Tories had questioned who footed the bills for two staffers to travel to Sudbury with Wynne for her testimony, as well as for Siegel to draft the legal threat to Brown.

In his opening statement last week, federal prosecutor David McKercher said in exchange for crossing the floor, Thibeault wanted paid positions for two of his staffers, as well as income replacement for himself, as well as full support of the Liberals.

This is the second time in a week that the Liberal government has threatened legal action over remarks made by a Progressive Conservative member of the provincial legislature about the Sudbury trial.

Premier Wynne is not facing charges in the trial.

Brown was asked to retract the statement and issue an apology by 5 p.m. Thursday.

Wynne would later testify that having Thibeault join the provincial Liberals was "intriguing", to her.

- with files from Shawn Jeffords in Toronto and Alexander Panetta in Washington, D.C.

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