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Suspended senator Brazeau was angry over news report, assault trial told

Suspended senator Patrick Brazeau was angry over a TV news report about himself hours before he was arrested for assault and sexual assault, the complainant said Monday in testimony at his trial.

The alleged victim, whose name is protected by a publication ban, testified that she became nervous as Brazeau became increasingly aggressive over the course of an evening on Feb. 6, 2013.

He drank martinis and another cocktail mixed with orange juice as he checked Twitter and sent messages on his smartphone, she told court.

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The woman started testifying Monday morning on the opening day of the case. She is expected to be on the stand for the rest of the day.

Brazeau was charged with assault and sexual assault after the incident at a home in Gatineau. He has pleaded not guilty.

Testimony before a judge alone began with Gatineau police officer Patrick Quinn presenting photos taken at the residence.

Some photos showed the broken spindles of railings from different stairways inside the three-storey house. Quinn also presented photos of the complainant, which appeared to show bruises and red marks on her back, arm, wrist, shoulder and knee.

As well as the photos, the judge also saw two pieces of evidence, including a bra with a torn strap and a metal button from a pair of pants.

Police also found a damaged photo in the house featuring three people, including Brazeau and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper's face had been torn out of the photo, which had been framed.

Quinn testified that it appeared like an altercation "with a certain amount of violence" had taken place in the house.

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Proceedings were briefly halted when the Crown asked the woman if she wanted to have the media and public excluded from the courtroom during her testimony.

"If it's possible, yes," she replied.

The woman told the court she was "a bit nervous" and said she preferred to exclude the public and media from hearing her testimony because "it touches on my personal life."

The Crown said her request was understandable, particularly with the abnormally high number of people and journalists in the courtroom.

But defence attorney Gerard Larocque argued it was important for the public to hear her story, saying he had read "lots of versions" in the media of what happened that night.

Judge Valmont Beaulieu dismissed the woman's request after a short recess.

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Brazeau was kicked out of the Conservative caucus shortly after his 2013 arrest. Days later, he was forced to take a leave from the Senate and was later suspended.

Brazeau was named to the Senate by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2008.

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