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Suspected Mafia boss fights to avoid testifying at corruption probe

Marc Labelle, lawyer for Raynald Desjardins, who is in jail awaiting trial for his alleged role in the killing of Salvatore Montagna, pleads before the Charbonneau Commission on Monday Nov. 19, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO,


Quebec's corruption inquiry has heard from police, construction bosses and bureaucrats. Pretty soon, that list could grow to include a suspected Mafia boss.

The lawyer for a reputed member of the Montreal Mafia is trying to get his client out of testifying before the inquiry.

Raynald Desjardins is currently awaiting trial for first-degree murder in the slaying of a former Bonanno crime boss.

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Lawyer Marc Labelle says since his client is already awaiting trial, testifying before the inquiry could hinder his attempt to find an impartial jury.

A lawyer representing the inquiry says it's interested in Mr. Desjardins's involvement in a construction firm that specialized in decontamination.

Mr. Labelle notes that Mr. Desjardins's earlier failed attempt to have a subpoena quashed before the Quebec Superior Court received heavy media coverage and he says any testimony before the inquiry would get 10 times more attention.

The lawyer asked for commission counsel to make sure it was absolutely necessary for Mr. Desjardins to testify, and, if so, that it be done behind closed doors under a publication ban.

Simon Tremblay, a commission counsel, called Mr. Desjardins's request premature and noted the date of his murder trial has not even been set.

France Charbonneau, who heads the commission, says she'll deliberate on the request.

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