March 29, 2019 / 9:03 PM / in 20 days

Canada ex-cabinet minister keeps up pressure on Trudeau over scandal

OTTAWA, March 29 (Reuters) - A former cabinet member at the center of a major crisis facing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday released documents to back up her case that she had been pressured to help a large corporation avoid a corruption trial.

Trudeau has been on the defensive since Feb. 7 over allegations that top officials inappropriately leaned on former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould last year to ensure that construction company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc could escape a trial by paying a fine instead.

Wilson-Raybould made public around 40 pages of documents revealing more details of what she said were attempts by officials to force her change her mind even after she insisted they desist.

Wilson-Raybould, who was demoted to veterans affairs minister in January and resigned the following month, first made the allegations in almost four hours of testimony to the House of Commons justice committee last month. Trudeau insists he and his team did nothing wrong.

The crisis may threaten Trudeau’s reelection chances in a vote this October. Polls show his center-left Liberals, who as recently as January looked certain to win, could lose to the official opposition Conservatives. (Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by Leslie Adler)

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