In a stunning announcement, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said Thursday that police have recovered a video allegedly showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking from what appears to be a crack pipe.The existence of the video was first reported by the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker in May.
Blair said a number of digital files were recovered after several computer hard drives were seized on June 13 in the course of so-called Project Traveller raids, which targeted guns, drugs and gang activity in the city’s west end.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is seen in this photo included in the documents released by an Ontario Superior Court judge, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.
On Tuesday, forensic teams were able to recover a deleted file that contained the video, Blair said.
He said the footage is “consistent with what has been described in the media,” but would not detail what activities were depicted in the video.
Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, a friend of the mayor, has been charged with extortion in connection to the video, Blair said.
Police allege that Lisi, 35, made “extortive efforts to retrieve a recording.” He is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall at 9 a.m. Friday.
Blair added that evidence is still being reviewed and that further charges could be laid.
Earlier this month, Lisi was arrested on marijuana trafficking charges as part of the ongoing police investigation.
Blair said the recovered video does not support criminal charges against the mayor.
But he said he was “disappointed” after watching the footage himself.
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed,” Blair said. “This is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city and that concerns me.”
After yelling at reporters to get off his property in Etobicoke before Blair dropped the bombshell, Ford emerged outside his office Thursday afternoon to say he has “no reason” to resign.
Read more: ctvnews.ca