Trial of ex-Liberal minister Normandeau will begin early next year: Crown

The Crown says the fraud-related trial of ex-deputy Quebec premier Nathalie Normandeau and five co-accused will likely be held in early 2018 and last at least four months.

Claude Dussault said outside a Quebec City courtroom today he has a list of 139 potential witnesses, although not all will necessarily testify.

Normandeau, 49, is charged with conspiracy, corruption, breach of trust and fraud in a scheme in which political financing and gifts were allegedly exchanged for lucrative government contracts between 2000 and 2012.

She and six others were arrested in March 2016.

One of the seven, ex-Parti Quebecois political aide Ernest Murray, recently pleaded guilty to counselling a criminal offence that was not committed.

Normandeau served as a Liberal member of the legislature for a riding on the Gaspe peninsula from 1998 to 2011 and held key cabinet positions as well as being deputy premier from 2007 to 2011.

The parties are scheduled to return to court Sept. 19, when a trial date is expected to be set.