Toronto Police are investigating a new video showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine, a fresh lead in a high-profile probe that had appeared to be at a standstill.
Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux said he will probe the video, which two Globe and Mail journalists reported shows the mayor taking a drag from a copper-coloured pipe and exhaling a cloud of smoke as his right hand and arm shake uncontrollably.
“We’re aware of it and we’re looking into it,” Det. Sgt. Giroux said in an interview.
The video is one of three clips recorded by a self-professed drug dealer in the basement of his sister Kathy’s house early on Saturday morning. After news of the footage surfaced late on Wednesday, Mr. Ford announced he planned to seek treatment for his alcohol problem.
Det. Sgt. Giroux, who is the force’s lead investigator on the Ford file, said he will look into the videos as part of his original Project Brazen 2 probe, which began nearly a year ago after media reports about another recording that is also alleged to show Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine.
“Our original mandate was to determine any criminality involved in the mayor or the mayor’s office,” he said. “So mainly, my focus would be on that. I would stay true to that original mandate that we had.”
Det. Sgt. Giroux said he was interested in determining whether Alessandro Lisi, a close friend and former occasional driver of the mayor, was at the gathering and whether he had breached any of his bail conditions. The Globe reported that a man resembling Mr. Lisi could be seen in the background of the footage.
Mr. Lisi, who faces charges of drug dealing and extortion, is free on bail but prohibited by court order from associating with people with criminal records and possessing or using illegal drugs, among other restrictions.
Mr. Lisi’s lawyer, Seth Weinstein, declined to say whether Mr. Lisi was at Ms. Ford’s house. “It’s just not appropriate for me to comment on,” he said.
While Toronto Police have long said Project Brazen 2 is ongoing, the Ontario Provincial Police said last month that it had withdrawn from overseeing the investigation because of a lack of new information.
Asked about the new video on Thursday, OPP spokeswoman Sergeant Carolle Dionne said the force has “no involvement at this time” in Project Brazen 2.
Det. Sgt. Giroux said the OPP would “likely be engaged” in any possible determination about whether to lay additional charges. “But I’m not at that stage yet,” he added.