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Sandro Lisi, with his lawyer, Seth Weinstein, near, is escorted out of Old City Hall Court in Toronto on Nov. 1, 2013 after getting bail on extortion charges.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The drug and extortion cases that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's friend Alexander Lisi is facing will return to court early in the new year.

Lisi's two criminal cases are both set for Jan. 14 judicial pre-trials, which are case conferences between the lawyers and a judge behind closed doors.

His lawyer, Seth Weinstein, appeared briefly in court today on Lisi's behalf to set the date for the extortion judicial pre-trial for the same day as the drug case.

Lisi, 35, was charged in October with trafficking in marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Those charges were laid as the result of a Toronto police investigation that was initially launched to look into reports of a video appearing to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Police announced in late October that they had recovered the video and charged Lisi with extortion for allegedly threatening two men charged with gang offences while trying to get his hands on the notorious video.