Trudeau's principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

OTTAWA -- Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau's principal secretary and long-time friend, has resigned amid allegations that the Prime Minister's Office interfered to prevent criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

In a statement, Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to help the Montreal engineering giant avoid prosecution on corruption and bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.

He says the accusation is ``simply not true.''

Nevertheless, Butts says the allegation is distracting from the ``vital work'' Trudeau is doing.

Butts says it's his responsibility to defend his own reputation and that it's in the best interests of the government for him to step away.

Butts has acknowledged that Wilson-Raybould briefly raised the SNC-Lavalin case during a conversation with him in December; he says he advised her to speak with the clerk of the Privy Council.