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Outside the courtroom, after Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Khaki
Hurlburt arrived at the courthouse with his wife, Nancy, and his lawyer. Other members of his family were also present, along with some supporters and friends of Hurlburt, many of whom were members of the Progressive Conservative party for which Hurlburt served as MLA.
The charges to which Hurlburt pleaded guilty have offence dates of between June 30, 2006 and June 30, 2009. The fraud charge states that Hurlburt submitted false or improper expense claims to the speaker of the House of Assembly. The indictment does not identify what the improper expense claims were for.
Hurlburt was first elected to the House of Assembly in July 1999 and was re elected in 2003, 2006 and 2009. During his years in government he served as minister of natural resources, economic development and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.
"Today I entered a guilty plea on the charges and I am taking full responsibility for my actions. Rolex Sea Dweller Deep Sea
"I am sorry for expensing an item that I now know was not an appropriate claim based on the legislature's internal economy board regulations," he said at the time. "I regret how this has been perceived and have paid back the full amount."
At the same time the public was wondering who had purchased a $2,499 40 inch LCD television. The public learned this expense was Hurlburt's as well not from Hurlburt, however, but when more detailed information pertaining to the auditor general's report was released. That information also included a $579 installation fee.
In court, Hurlburt's lawyer said his client was voluntarily entering the guilty pleas.
Hurlburt also paid back the cost associated with the television to the Speaker's Office.
Even when the NDP orange crush swept the province in 2009, Hurlburt easily defended his seat, outpacing the NDP, Liberal and Green Party candidates.
A throng of reporters and photographers were at the Yarmouth Justice Centre on Thursday, awaiting Hurlburt's arrival. While earlier court appearances had been in Halifax, Hurlburt wanted the matter moved to Yarmouth so he could face the people of Yarmouth as he took responsibility for his actions.
Hurlburt enters two guilty pleas
Hurlburt will be sentenced on one count of fraud over $5,000 and one count of breach of trust in Yarmouth Supreme Court on July 5.
his lawyer Stan MacDonald had entered the guilty pleas on his behalf, the former Yarmouth MLA made a brief statement to the media. At times his voice was shaky, given the emotion associated with the day.
come to his home during a power outage. Not long after, however, Hurlburt issued an apology, saying it was an expense claim judgment error. He reimbursed the cost of the generator and a hook up fee to the Speaker's Office.
Just over two years ago Auditor General Jacques Lapointe released a report in which he flagged excessive and/or inappropriate expenses made and submitted by MLAs. Among those expenses was a $7,995 generator purchased by Hurlburt. At the time, back in February 2010, when he was questioned about the generator purchase, Hurlburt was, at first, unapologetic. He said he had bought the generator to be used by search and rescue and other local groups in the event of a power failure or disaster. He also said residents from a nearby seniors complex could Rolex 1680
The preparation of a pre sentence report has been requested to aid in the sentencing process. Three other charges against Hurlburt of uttering forged documents were withdrawn by Crown attorney Andrew MacDonald. Justice Greg Warner dismissed those charges.
When Hurlburt first entered provincial politics in 1999, he stated repeatedly that he was there to fight for the riding of Yarmouth and the people who live here. But the expense scandal over MLA expenses and Hurlburt's purchases were, perhaps, too big a fight for Hurlburt to overcome. He resigned as Yarmouth's MLA on Feb. 9, 2010, six days after the auditor general's report had been released.
A year after his resignation Hurlburt was one of four former or current MLAs charged after the RCMP followed up on the auditor general's report with its own probe into MLA spending. One other former MLA has also pleaded guilty. Last September, former Liberal MLA Dave Wilson pleaded guilty to uttering forged documents and one count each of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust. Wilson's sentencing is scheduled for April 19.
In response to the public furor, in March 2010, Premier Darrell Dexter announced a series of reforms that included new rules aimed at making the legislature's internal economy board more accountable and transparent. MLAs must also ensure that all of their expenses are accompanied by receipts. This information is also posted online.
In February 2010 there was a public firestorm over the auditor general's report. Expenses highlighted in the report ranged from $790 for a model of the ship Hector to $738 for an espresso coffee machine. Other expenses included pricy purchases for laptops, cameras and custom made Nike Sweater No Hood furniture. An expense claim for a Dance Revolution video game had even been submitted. People were angry over these purchases, and they let their feelings known in comments on newspaper websites and Facebook pages.
Inside the same courtroom where, as Yarmouth's MLA, Richard Hurlburt participated in the official grand opening of Yarmouth's new justice centre three years ago, on Thursday, April 12, he entered two guilty pleas to charges stemming from fraudulent expense claims he submitted while he served as an MLA.
Before entering provincial politics, he was warden of the Municipality of Yarmouth.
Trevor Zinck, a former NDP MLA who now sits as an independent, is facing a charge of fraud over $5,000, breach of trust and two counts of theft over $5,000. His preliminary inquiry is scheduled for June.
Former Liberal MLA Russell MacKinnon is due back in court later this month to set a trial date. He is facing 10 charges, including one count of fraud over $5,000 and one count of breach of trust by a public official. The other charges relate to forged documents.
I also want to apologize to my wife, my family and my friends and I thank them for their continued love and support," said Hurlburt. "I want to apologize to the constituents of Yarmouth for any hardship that this has put on the constituents of Yarmouth and all Nova Scotians."
Beyond the courtroom there have been other signs of support for Hurlburt. Some people have posted signs on their property or have bumper stickers on their vehicle that read: Free Richard. Others have indicated that if Hurlburt ran for office again, they would vote for him, saying he had done a good job of representing Yarmouth and working on behalf of the people here.
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