Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he provided information and offered to testify for the defence in the breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.
In a video posted on social media on Wednesday, Kenney congratulated Norman on being cleared of allegations he leaked sensitive information about a federal government shipbuilding contract.
Kenney said he worked with Norman in his capacity as Stephen Harper’s defence minister when the procurement deal was negotiated with Quebec’s Davie Shipyard in 2015.
He revealed he contributed to Norman’s legal fund and also met with his defence team for about two hours in Toronto last year.
“I gave them information which I believe would have helped with his exoneration had this case gone to trial, and let me salute his legal team for their excellent work. I offered to testify in his defence at trial, but thankfully it will not go to that.”
Kenney called Norman’s prosecution an “utter travesty” and referred to him as “a man of deep ethical values who never would have violated the law in his service as commander of the Canadian Navy.”
On Wednesday, the Crown stayed its charge of breach of trust against Norman, admitting it did not have enough evidence to meet the standard of conviction required for the allegation in light of new evidence presented by the defence and third parties in a March 28 meeting between the Crown and Norman’s counsel.
The nature of that information is not clear at this point.
The alleged leak pertained to the Liberal government’s plans to freeze a deal the Conservative government had struck to allow the Navy to lease a supply ship that was to be built by a Quebec City shipyard.
Norman was relieved of his duties as vice-chief of the defence staff, Canada’s second highest military position, in January 2017 without explanation.
WATCH: Government calls accusation they interfered in Mark Norman case ‘absurd’
It was not until more than a year later, in March 2018, that the Crown laid a charge of breach of trust against him, and the case has been dogged by accusations of political interference since Norman was first relieved of his post.
On Wednesday in the House of Commons, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said decisions in the case were completely independent from the government, and he quoted a statement from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) released that day.
Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutions, said there was no “contact or influence from outside the PPSC, including political influence in either the initial decision to prosecute Mr. Norman or in the decision to stay the charge.”
With files from Amanda Connolly, Global News, and The Canadian Press