OTTAWA – Toronto police have recovered a video showing Rob Ford, the city’s mayor, apparently smoking crack cocaine, Police Chief William Blair said Thursday.
The video was recovered by technicians Tuesday from deleted files on a computer seized during a series of drug- and gang-related arrests this year.
In May, the blog Gawker and the Toronto Star both reported that they had been shown the video several times by a man who was trying to sell it. A subsequent attempt by Gawker to buy the video failed, and Ford has repeatedly denied using crack. While Blair did not describe the video at a televised news conference, he confirmed that the mayor appeared in it and that its contents were “consistent with what has previously been reported.”
Blair said there was nothing on the video that could lead to criminal charges against Ford but added, “As a citizen of the city, I am disappointed.”
During a brief meeting with reporters, Ford ignored questions about why he had previously denied the existence of the video. “I have no reason to resign,” he told the reporters at City Hall in Toronto. “I’m going to go back and return my phone calls. I’m going to be out doing what the people elected me to do, and that’s save taxpayers’ money and run a great government that we’ve been running.”
He added, “I wish I could come out and defend myself, but unfortunately I can’t because it’s before the courts.”
The recording, and a second video that Blair did not describe, did lead to the arrest of Alexander Lisi, whom Ford had described as a friend and who acts as the mayor’s driver from time to time. Lisi has been charged with extortion, although the police declined to give details of the charge or name the extortion victim.
The Toronto Star has reported that Lisi tried to recover the video on Ford’s behalf after initial news reports of its contents.