Rob Ford’s voice was never captured on wiretaps that form part of Project Brazen 2, a Toronto police investigation targeting the mayor and his friend alleged drug dealer Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi, according to newly released portions of a court document.
Several paragraphs summarizing those wiretaps were made public Wednesday afternoon after Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer ordered the disclosure of more previously redacted information from a police document. Lawyers representing a number of media organizations, including The Globe and Mail, have been fighting in court for this information to be released.
Another newly disclosed section says that Mr. Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, told police he had heard that Mr. Ford lost his phone around the time Mr. Towhey was fired from the mayor’s office – May 23.
The context of the lost cellphone remains unclear but in court, lawyers referenced media reports alleging Mr. Lisi offered to swap marijuana in exchange for the phone’s return.
The fresh disclosure also reveals that police twigged to Mr. Lisi’s role as an alleged drug dealer after listening to wiretaps conducted on April 20 for Project Traveller, a massive drug and gun investigation targeting an Etobicoke gang known as the Dixon City Bloods.
Mr. Lisi was later arrested as part of Brazen 2, which targeted both the 35-year-old occasional driver for Mr. Ford, and the mayor himself. Mr. Lisi is currently facing charges for trafficking marijuana and extortion in relation to a video that allegedly shows Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The wiretap intercepts for Project Traveller, of which there are thousands of conversations originating from 59 people, concluded June 14 – the day after the raids. Several people connected with Mr. Ford, including two men who appeared in an infamous photo with the mayor, were arrested in that raid.
Much of the wiretap information contained in the document, a search warrant application referred to as an Information to Obtain (ITO), remains redacted. Mr. Lisi’s lawyer, Seth Weinstein, argued on Wednesday that the remaining blacked-out passages would prejudice his client’s right to a fair trial in the extortion case if released.
Justice Nordheimer will hear further arguments on the disclosure of wiretap information on Monday.