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Ortis claimed RCMP brass was probed and force faced "existential threat": Final cross-exam record released
Cameron Ortis, the alleged RCMP intelligence mole, has been spinning absurd fables to cover-up his criminal leaks to transnational gangster and terror-financing suspects in early 2015, Canadian prosecutors told a jury in closing arguments this week.
But in explosive testimony on Tuesday — during his final day of cross-examination — Ortis added to the mystery surrounding his explanation for contacting RCMP suspects, alleging in late 2014, he was involved in an insider corruption investigation that looked into RCMP brass.
A redacted transcript of Tuesday’s hearing — which was barred to media for national security reasons — was released to The Bureau on Friday after closing arguments in the case.
The jury heard this week that Ortis shared or attempted to share RCMP operational plans with three Toronto-based members of a global money laundering and terror-financing network, which was targeted by the Five Eyes in late 2014.
Evidence in the case shows Ortis either asked for cash, or planned to profit, in his communications with four transnational crime suspects, the jury heard, including a Vancouver-based seller of “uncrackable” Blackberry phones used by drug traffickers and terror-financiers.
Ortis explained his communications as a one-man sting operation, in which he attempted to lure RCMP targets onto an email service which he says was secretly run by a foreign intelligence agency — claiming he promised this purported agency he would not tell Todd Shean, his then boss, or anyone in the RCMP about this secret plan.
Further colour from Ortis’ story came out Tuesday, according to the transcript released to media Friday afternoon.
“I believe you testified, Sir, the reason you didn't tell Mr. Shean [about Ortis’ sting plan] was this alleged caveat that was attached to the information you received, as well as a concern about an insider threat?” Crown prosecutor John MacFarlane asked Ortis, on Tuesday.
Ortis said yes, and continued to say: “We had a much bigger compromise, much bigger than what I was briefed on, and much bigger than what would ordinarily be expected by anybody working an insider corruption file.”
“So, Todd Shean was not a mole?” MacFarlane pressed.
“Not as far as I know,” Ortis answered.
In an answer that can’t be fully understood from the transcript, Ortis continued, saying:
“Weeks after [redacted words] when we began to develop, significant, clear, visibility on what the threat actually was, I think we arrived at the conclusion that Todd Shean and the rest of the executive command chain, at least straight above me, were not involved with that.
But we couldn't be 100 percent certain.”
“You determined that?” MacFarlane asked. “You investigated your upper management?”
“We took a long, hard look in [redacted words] how this might have unfolded, who might have been in the decision making, to allow [several redacted sentences] at headquarters. So, we did do initial assessments. That's correct.”
Towards the end of his cross-examination, Ortis also claimed to the prosecutor, he was aware of an internal file that presented “an existential threat to the RCMP.”
The Ortis trial is believed to be one of the most sensitive in Canadian history, and media were banned from listening to Ortis on the stand.
Transcripts of his testimony have been released to media after a judge vetted the information.
A Ontario Superior Court judge is scheduled to give the 12-person jury guidance on Monday, before it retires to deliberate.
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