The Toronto Police investigation into Mayor Rob Ford remains “very active,” the detective leading the probe says.
“I still have all my investigators intact, and we’re still conducting interviews, and the investigation is still moving forward,” Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux told CP24 Monday.
Det. Sgt. Giroux is the lead investigator on Project Brazen 2 – a probe that had officers surveilling the mayor for months, and which so far has resulted in charges against the mayor’s friend, 35-year-old alleged drug dealer Alessandro Lisi.
And while police had previously said that Brazen 2 targeted a number of individuals, including the mayor and Mr. Lisi, Det. Sgt. Giroux’s comments Monday made it clear that the mayor is, in fact, a main focus of the investigation.
“My original mandate is to investigate any criminality involved with the mayor and the mayor’s office, and that is active and continuing,” Det. Sgt. Giroux said.
He would not comment on whether any charges are pending.
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said the mandate of Brazen 2 has always been to investigate individuals related to evidence that came out of Project Traveller, a gang and drug investigation that resulted in dozens of arrests in June.
“His [Det. Sgt. Giroux’s] mandate was to look into matters that arose during Traveller. That’s what they’ve done, and that’s what they’ve continued to do,” he said.
Toronto Police has requested on a number of occasions to interview Mr. Ford for Brazen 2 – requests that have been denied by the mayor. “We put in those requests, and those requests stand,” Mr. Pugash said.
But Mr. Ford’s criminal lawyer, Dennis Morris, said there is no reason for the mayor to meet with police. Investigators are simply fishing for evidence to use against his client, he said. “Anything he says could be used as evidence.Why say anything to anybody?”
Mr. Morris added that Mr. Ford has not been charged with any offence. “If the mayor was anyway involved, police would’ve charged him. But there’s no allegation other than that Mr. Lisi acted alone,” he said. “It’s a targeted effort to embarrass and shame the mayor.”
The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Project Brazen 2 was launched in spring of last year, after reports surfaced of a video that shows Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine. Police documents related to Brazen 2 described meetings between Mr. Lisi and Mr. Ford at all hours of the day and night, and in unusual locations including parking lots and secluded parks. The report also outlined allegations by former staffers, including alcohol abuse and sexual harassment.
Mr. Ford later pledged to change his lifestyle, including vowing to quit drugs and alcohol. But a series of setbacks have threatened his progress – including a video last month that showed the mayor rambling in Jamaican patois and using explicit language, and another that showed Mr. Ford meeting with Mr. Lisi.