Timeline: Key dates in the Mike Duffy trial and Senate expense scandal

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WATCH ABOVE: Vassy Kapelos takes a brief look back at the trial of Senator Mike Duffy – Apr 17, 2016

OTTAWA – Here’s an abridged chronology of the Senate expense scandal at the heart of the Duffy trial:

Dec. 22, 2008: Then-prime minister Stephen Harper announces Duffy’s appointment to the Senate as a representative of Prince Edward Island. Duffy is sworn in the following month.

December 2012: Questions are raised about how much time Duffy spends at his declared primary residence in P.E.I., since he claims living expenses for his longtime Ottawa-area home.

READ MORE: Senate in ‘crisis’ says former PC senator

Dec. 4, 2012: Duffy says he got an email from Nigel Wright, the prime minister’s chief of staff, saying it appeared that Duffy’s residence expenses complied with the rules.

Feb. 5, 2013: Reports emerge that Duffy applied for a P.E.I. health card in December 2012 and that he does not receive a resident tax credit for his home on the island.

Feb. 8, 2013: Senate hires external auditing firm to review residence claims of Duffy and two other senators.

READ MORE: What to expect as verdict looms

Feb. 11, 2013: Duffy sends email to Wright apparently containing advice from his lawyer. It outlines certain scenarios for repayment of the expenses and the “assurances” he would require.

Feb. 13, 2013: Duffy says he met Harper and Wright after a Conservative caucus meeting. Harper tells Duffy he must repay questioned housing expenses. “The prime minister agreed I had not broken the rules but insisted I pay the money back, money I didn’t owe, because the Senate’s rules are, in his words, ‘inexplicable to our base,”‘ Duffy says in an October 2013 speech in the Senate.

Feb. 21, 2013: Duffy agrees to follow what he later describes as a PMO-drafted plan to cover up the source of a $90,000 payback to the Senate, including a story that he borrowed the money from RBC.

WATCH: How do we prevent ‘confusion’ in future Senate expense claims?

Click to play video: 'How do we prevent ‘confusion’ in future Senate expense claims?' How do we prevent ‘confusion’ in future Senate expense claims?
How do we prevent ‘confusion’ in future Senate expense claims? – Mar 21, 2016

Feb. 22, 2013: Claiming confusion with the rules, Duffy pledges to pay back the expenses.

Feb. 27, 2013: Harper says all senators meet the requirement that they live in the area they were appointed to represent.

Mar. 26, 2013: $90,172.24 is transferred to Duffy’s RBC bank account, and his cheque for $90,172.24 is delivered to the Senate. The cheque cleared Duffy’s bank on Mar. 28.

April 19, 2013: Duffy confirms he has repaid more than $90,000 in Senate housing expenses. “I have always said that I am a man of my word. In keeping with the commitment I made to Canadians, I can confirm that I repaid these expenses in March 2013.”

Click to play video: 'Prosecution goes after Mike Duffy one last time' Prosecution goes after Mike Duffy one last time
Prosecution goes after Mike Duffy one last time – Feb 22, 2016

May 8, 2013: In a meeting with people from the Prime Minister’s Office, Conservative senators and staff discuss the altering of a committee report on Duffy’s residency and expenses. Negative language is removed.

May 12, 2013: RCMP says it will examine Senate expense claims.

May 15, 2013: The PMO confirms a media report that Wright personally footed the bill for Duffy’s housing expenses because Duffy couldn’t make a timely payment.

May 16, 2013: The Canadian Press reports that Duffy submitted travel expense claims to the Senate on the same days that he was campaigning for Conservative candidates in 2011 and claiming expenses from them. He resigns from the Conservative caucus.

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May 19, 2013: Wright announces his resignation as Harper’s chief of staff, a move Harper says he accepts with “great regret.” Wright is replaced in the chief of staff’s role by Ray Novak. In October, Harper says Wright was “dismissed.”

May 28, 2013: Senate internal economy committee holds a public meeting to review Duffy’s travel expenses. Senate finance officials say they’ve detected a pattern that concerns them. The committee votes to send the matter to the RCMP.

READ MORE: Secrets of Senate expenses revealed

June 13, 2013: The RCMP confirms it has launched a formal investigation into Wright’s involvement in the expense scandal.

July 5, 2013: Harper is accused of misleading Canadians after repeatedly insisting Wright acted on his own when he gave Duffy $90,000 to reimburse his invalid expense claims. The RCMP says in a court document that Wright told three other senior people in the PMO about the transaction.

Oct. 8, 2013: RCMP alleges Duffy awarded $65,000 in Senate contracts to Gerald Donohue, a friend and former TV technician, who did little actual work for the money.

Oct. 17, 2013: Claude Carignan, the government’s new leader in the Senate, introduces motions to suspend Duffy, Sen. Pamela Wallin and Sen. Patrick Brazeau from the Senate. The motions call for the three to be stripped of their pay, benefits and Senate resources.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the Duffy trial

Oct. 21, 2013: Duffy’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, alleges Harper’s staff and key Conservative senators were behind a scheme to have Duffy take the fall for wrongdoing that they agreed he had not committed.

Oct. 22, 2013: In an explosive speech in the Senate, Duffy accuses Harper’s office of orchestrating a “monstrous fraud” aimed at snuffing out controversy over his expenses. Duffy accuses the prime minister of being more interested in appeasing his Conservative base than the truth.

Oct. 28, 2013: Duffy delivers another speech, this time saying the Conservative party arranged to cover his $13,560 legal bill. He also casts doubt on whether Wright actually paid the $90,000: “I have never seen a cheque from Nigel Wright.”

READ MORE: Inside the RCMP’s Senate investigation

Nov. 5, 2013: Senators vote to suspend Brazeau, Duffy and Wallin without pay – but with health, dental and life insurance benefits intact – for the remainder of the parliamentary session.

Jan. 29, 2014: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau expels the 32 Liberal senators from his caucus in what he calls an effort to reduce partisanship in the upper chamber. He says if he becomes prime minister he would appoint only independent senators, chosen through an open public process.

April 15, 2014: RCMP tell Wright he will not face criminal charges.

July 17, 2014: Duffy is charged with 31 counts of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

Another day of grilling set for Nigel Wright
Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, arrives at the Ottawa courthouse in Ottawa Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015 to testify at the Mike Duffy trial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

April 7, 2015: The trial begins with Duffy formally pleading not guilty to all charges. Deputy Crown attorney Mark Holmes says Duffy billed the Senate for thousands in “secondary residence” expenses though he did not live in Prince Edward Island and was just “commuting” from his Ottawa home. Holmes also says Duffy claimed travel payments for Senate business when he was attending family events. Defence lawyer Donald Bayne says Duffy operated within the often-fuzzy Senate rules.

WATCH: Duffy’s lawyer says there’s no evidence to convict senator

April 15, 2015: Witnesses testify they received payments for various services from Duffy through cheques issued by Maple Ridge Media, a company run by Duffy’s friend Donohue.

April 22, 2015: Court is told that after his appointment to the Senate, Duffy moved quickly to declare a P.E.I. cottage as his primary residence, allowing him to claim more than $80,000 in housing expenses over the years.

May 7, 2015: Three Conservative MPs testify they recruited Duffy to speak at fundraising events in their ridings because his star power would help “rally the troops.”

June 9, 2015: Duffy’s former executive assistant testifies it was common practice in his office to have him sign blank travel expense claims in order to facilitate paperwork.

June 16, 2015: A forensic accountant testifies that Duffy was withdrawing more money from his bank account than was deposited, with the difference made up from a line of credit.

June 18, 2015: The forensic accountant tracks the $90,000 Wright payment from an American account to a Canadian account, to an Ottawa law firm to Duffy’s bank account. The Receiver General of Canada then received $90,172.24 from Duffy.

Aug. 2, 2015: Harper calls a federal election. With the dissolution of Parliament for the Oct. 19 election, Duffy’s Senate suspension is no longer in force.

Aug. 12, 2015: Trial resumes with Wright starting his testimony.

Aug. 16, 2015: Both Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair make electoral hay with trial testimony about the $90,000 payment, Harper shrugs it off as old news.

Aug. 18, 2015: Testimony that says other PMO staffers knew about Wright’s planned payment to Duffy leaves Harper facing repeated grilling on the campaign trail.

Aug 21, 2015: Twitter says the Duffy trial is becoming the most tweeted-about election topic.

Aug. 26, 2015: Trial adjourns to November.

Oct. 19, 2015: Trudeau and the Liberals win a majority government, Harper declares his intention to quit as Conservative leader.

READ MORE: Crown ties up loose ends in Mike Duffy trial

Nov. 19, 2015: Duffy’s friend Donohue testifies he received $65,000 in contracts from Duffy. In turn, he wrote cheques to other Duffy service providers – including an intern, a makeup artist and a speechwriter. The Crown called the $65,000 a slush fund. Duffy’s lawyer said the system was unorthodox, but not criminal.

Dec. 8, 2015: Duffy starts to testify in his own defence, beginning with a lengthy account of his life and career.

Dec. 17, 2015: Duffy ends six days of testimony and two days of cross-examination and the defence rests its case.

Feb. 23, 2016: Crown and defence arguments conclude after two days.

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