October 01, 2004
As a critical analysis of the deception behind the Airbus scandal, A Secret Trial examines the ethics of politicians, journalists and business—pitting former prime minister Brian Mulroney against one of Canada’s foremost investigative journalists, Stevie Cameron.
Kaplan’s previous book, Presumed Guilty, chronicles the corruption charges surrounding Air Canada’s 1988 $1.8 billion purchase of passenger airplanes from Airbus Industries, concluding that Mulroney had been the victim of a campaign of unfounded allegation and reckless innuendo.
In A Secret Trial, Kaplan reveals that he was misled and deceived by both Mulroney and Cameron. Not long after leaving office in circumstances he believed were best kept quiet, Mulroney paid $300,000 in cash to, and then misled Canadians when he testified under oath about his relationship with, German middle man Karlheinz Schreiber. He then tried to suppress the story in the media, while Cameron, wanting to destroy Mulroney, became a confidential RCMP informant—breaking a sacred commandment of journalism. A Secret Trial sets the record straight about the Airbus affair and reveals the culture of court secrecy that Mulroney and Cameron manipulated for their own use.
Kaplan praises the work of Patrick Flaherty, who in September 2003 was instrumental, on behalf of The Globe and Mail, in persuading the presiding Justice Then that the secrecy around the trial could no longer be justified. Justice Then reconvened the case in open court, authorized access to the Eurocopter court file and set aside the publication ban.