- Allegations that the Canadian mayor had been caught on camera puffing on a crack pipe first surfaced in May, sparking a surveillance investigation
- Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair today confirmed forensics had obtained a copy of the video and that it is ‘consistent with what has been previously described in various media reports’
- In another twist, Ford’s friend and former driver, Alexander Lisi, an alleged drug dealer, has been taken into custody and charged with extortion in relation to the video
- Documents show Ford and Lisi exchanged 349 phone calls between Aug. 7 and Sept. 19 and had at least 100 meetings, where they would often exchange a bag or parcel
- Ford faces press conference and vows to remain in his position as Toronto Mayor, but walks off when reporters ask questions
PUBLISHED: 11:41 EST, 31 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:12 EST, 31 October 2013
Police have confirmed they have obtained a long-reported video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford using crack cocaine.
The explosive allegation has been made public following the release of documents that form the basis of a major drug investigation.
Police say they rummaged through the garbage of the major of Canada’s largest city and conducted an extensive surveillance operation to monitor him and close friend Alexander Lisi, Ford’s sometime driver, who has been charged with marijana trafficking and possession.
Ford first faced allegations in May that he had been caught on video puffing from a glass crack pipe.
While he denies the video exists, two reporters from the Toronto Star said they have seen it.
Both the Star and US website Gawker.com claimed they had been offered to buy the video, which was taken on a cell phone and has not been released publicly.
Police said Ford was put under surveillance after the allegations were made.
Forensics have since the located a ‘digital file’ of the video from a hard drive after it had been deleted.
Toronto Police Service released documents this morning that show police surveillance photos of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and Alexander Lisi, Ford’s friend and occasional driver, making repeated meetings. In the meetings they would exchange bags or parcels and would often not acknowledge each other. The investigation started after two media outlets alleged the existence of a video showing the Mayor using crack cocaine, which police now claim they have
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford yells at reporters and photographers to get off of his property in front of his house in Toronto October 31, 2013. Ford denied allegations earlier this year that he was caught smoking crack cocaine on camera. Police have now confirmed the video exists
Evidence: This widespread image of Rob Ford is allegedly connected to the crack cocaine video
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford yells at reporters and photographers to get off of his property in front of his house in Toronto today. Ford denied allegations earlier this year that he was caught smoking crack cocaine on camera. Police have now confirmed the video exists
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said the video is ‘consistent with what had been previously described in various media reports’.
‘I think it’s fair to say the mayor does appear in that video but I’m not going to get into the detail of what activities is depicted in that video,’ Chief Blair said in a news conference at a police headquarters.
Chief Blair said he was ‘disappointed’ after viewing the video.
In another twist, Lisi, already facing drug charges, has been taken into custody today and charged with extortion.
Police said ‘the accused made extortive efforts to retrieve a recording’.
The documents also show Ford receiving suspicious packages from Lisi on several occasions, some which were caught on camera and released to the media.
‘Lisi approached the driver’s side of the Mayor’s vehicle with a small white gift bag in hand; he then walked around to the passenger side and got on board,’ reads one document dated July 30, 2013.
‘After a few minutes Lisi exited the Escalade empty handed and walked back to his Range Range Rover.’
Another dated July 28 says Lisi ‘constantly used counter surveillance techniques’ when he met with Ford that day.
On August 13 documents say Lisi and Ford met and ‘made their way into a secluded area of the adjacent woods where they were obscured from surveillance efforts and stayed for approximately one hour’.
Police documented Lisi exchanging several phone calls with Ford, using four different numbers to reach him.
Starting Aug. 7, when police began tracking the phone numbers of calls to and from Lisi’s cellphone, until Sept. 19, Ford and Lisi exchanged 349 phone calls.
Ford recently vouched for Lisi in a separate criminal case, praising his leadership skills in a letter filed with the court.
The letter was part of a report prepared by a probation officer after Lisi was convicted of threatening to kill a woman.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair speaks at a news conference in Toronto today, confirming police are in possession of the alleged video that reportedly depicts Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine
At the centre: This is the man placed under surveillance by police, which then lead them to start to investigate Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Alexander ‘Sandro’ Lisi was already facing drug charges for marijuana trafficking and possession when he was taken into custody today and charged with extortion in relation a video that allegedly shows Ford using crack cocaine Alexander Lisi, friend and occasional driver of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, leaves Old City Hall court in Toronto after being granted bail on drug charges Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. Lisi, 35, has been charged with trafficking and possession of marijuana, Toronto police say. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has not yetresponded to the documents released by police today
Ford angrily yelled at reporters today to get off his property during a heated exchange before he left his house in the morning.
He didn’t respond to numerous questions about the allegations.
Ford said previously that he was shocked when Lisi was arrested earlier this month, calling him a ‘good guy’ and saying he doesn’t abandon his friends.
The documents also say that Payman Aboodowleh, a volunteer football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, where Ford coached the team, told police that Lisi met Ford through him.
He told police he was ‘mad at Lisi because he was fuelling the mayor’s drug abuse’, the document says.
Ford former staffer, Chris Fickel, told police he didn’t know where Ford got marijuana from, but ‘has heard that ‘Sandro’, Lisi’s nickname, may be the person who provides the mayor with marijuana and possibly cocaine,’ the document alleges.
However, Fickel added, he has never seen Lisi provide the mayor with drugs. The mayor would call Fickle and tell him to tell ‘Sandro’ that ‘I need to see him,’ Fickle told police.
Facing a press conference at his office this afternoon, Ford said he wouldn’t step down from his position.
He did not take questions from reporters.
‘I think everybody has seen the allegations against me today,’ he said.
‘I wish I could come out and defend myself, unfortunately I can’t, ’cause it’s before the court and that’s all I can say right now.
‘I have no reason to resign, I’m going to go back and return my phone calls, gonna be out doing what the people elected me to do and that’s save taxpayers money and run a great government.’
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