The video that allegedly shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine was surreptitiously filmed in February while the mayor was with several people, reveals a newly released police document.
The document, prepared by Detective Joyce Schertzer in relation to an extortion charge against Mr. Ford’s friend, Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi, states “the video appears to show the Mayor of Toronto consuming what appears to be a narcotic.” The mayor was unaware his actions were being caught on camera, the detective adds.
The timing of the video appears to contradict Mr. Ford’s assertion on when he last used crack cocaine. In an interview with CNN broadcast on Monday, the mayor said he hasn’t smoked crack cocaine “in over a year.”
None of the police allegations have been proven in court.
The report from Det. Schertzer is part of materials prepared by the federal Crown attorney’s office for a court hearing on releasing more information from a nearly 500-page police record used to obtain search warrants in a drug case involving Mr. Lisi and dry cleaner Jamshid Bahrami.
Lawyers representing several media organizations, including The Globe and Mail, will be in Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday to argue for the disclosure of censored wiretap information, which includes details on the mayor’s connection to Project Traveller – a year-long police guns and drugs investigation that culminated with dozens of arrests in mid-June.
Several other portions of the search-warrant document remain under wraps due to trial issues, including information from the mayor’s current and former staff members about a cellphone Mr. Ford lost in April. Also blacked out is information that staff relayed to police about an Etobicoke bungalow where the video was believed to have been filmed.
Mr. Lisi, 35, who served as the mayor’s occasional driver, is accused of using “threats or violence or menace” against Mohamed Siad, the man believed to have tried to sell the Ford video to Gawker and the Toronto Star, and against Liban Siyad, who was arrested in Project Traveller along with Mr. Siad.
In the newly released police account, Det. Schertzer alleges Mr. Lisi made several threatening phone calls in May to people he believed may have had the video.
“The accused insinuated that there would be consequences for the failure to return the video recording depicting the video images of the Mayor,” Det. Schertzer alleges in her report. The bid to retrieve the video was unsuccessful, she noted.
The allegations against Mr. Lisi have not been tested in court. He was charged with extortion on Oct. 31, when Toronto police revealed they had recovered a copy of the Ford video from a computer hard drive seized during Project Traveller. The file had been deleted from a laptop. A second video, which is connected to the same event, was also recovered by police.
It appears the Ford video may have gone up for sale soon after it was filmed.
Previously censored police interviews released last week show a CTV News cameraman told police a young man from the Dixon neighbourhood approached him in February, offering to sell the media outlet a video depicting the mayor in a “compromising position.” The man wanted at least $100,000 for the video, the cameraman told police in June. He believes this video seller may have been Mr. Siyad.
The video of the mayor has not surfaced publicly. After months of denying he had smoked crack cocaine, Mr. Ford admitted this month that he has used the illegal drug.
With a report from Patrick White