Toronto police want to interview Mayor Rob Ford, but his lawyer says it is not in his interest to speak with investigators.
Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux, who is leading a probe into a video alleged to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine, said he extended an invitation to Mr. Ford through his chief of staff in the past few days.
“I’ve made the request and I’m going to continue to do so,” he said on Friday.
Mr. Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris said there is no upside in talking to police, though he did not explicitly say he had advised the mayor to decline.
“If you’re being charged with something, I would maintain the right to remain silent and if you’re not being charged with something, I’d still remain silent because, obviously, they’re not out to give you coffee and cookies when they speak with you,” Mr. Morris said. “So it doesn’t help your cause.”
Mr. Morris accused police on Friday of having a “political agenda” against the mayor and called on Chief Bill Blair to release the video, saying it is impossible to determine if the substance shown is crack.
Police allege that Mr. Ford’s friend, Alessandro Lisi, made “threats” against two men who investigators believe attempted to sell the video after reports about it in the media, according to information released as a result of a court appearance on Friday. Mr. Lisi has been charged with extortion.
Investigators have offered to speak with Mr. Ford since at least late August, when one of his staffers contacted police after the mayor expressed concerns he was being followed. A detective said he told his chief of staff, Earl Provost, that he would “meet the mayor anywhere he likes” to get further details, but did not hear back, according to an affidavit released on Thursday.
Chief Blair has suggested Mr. Ford was unco-operative.
“My people have done everything in their power to gather the evidence that is required in this case,” he said on Thursday when asked why Mr. Ford had not been interviewed. “You can’t compel people to co-operate in those investigations.”
A court document says Mr. Lisi used “threats or violence or menace” against Mohamed Siad, the man believed to have tried to sell the video, and Liban Siyad, between May 16 and May 18.
Mr. Siyad is accused in Project Traveller, a drugs and gangs probe that led to dozens of arrests in mid-June.
In court on Friday, Mr. Lisi, 35, who was charged with extortion on Thursday, was granted bail set at $5,000.
His bail conditions prohibit him from possessing illegal narcotics, owning more than one cellphone, and communicating with Mr. Siad and Mr. Siyad.
He also cannot communicate with Elena Johnson and Fabio Basso, whose home was the backdrop of a photograph of Mr. Ford with murder victim Anthony Smith that was circulated alongside the video.
Chief Blair said he would not release the video because it relates to the extortion case against Mr. Lisi.
Chief Blair said on Thursday that police computer technicians had on Tuesday recovered a video showing the mayor that is consistent with the recording reported by Gawker.com and the Toronto Star.
He said he was “disappointed” by what he saw in the video.