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Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said today that police are in possession of the video allegedly showing Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The Chief's comments come on the same day it was revealed that the mayor was one of the targets of a months-long investigation known as Project Brazen 2, which resulted in charges against Alessandro Lisi, the mayor's friend and occasional driver. The information comes from a 480-page police document released Thursdsay that outlines police evidence against Mr. Lisi.
1. Police have alleged crack cocaine video
Police have recovered a video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine, Chief Bill Blair told reporters.
“The TPS is now in possession of a digital video file,” Chief Blair said.
The Chief said the mayor does appear in the video, “but I’m not going to get into detail.”
Chief Bill Blair said the video was recovered “in the examination of a hard drive” that was seized June 13 as a result of the Project Traveller investigation. Police computer technicians recovered the deleted file on Tuesday, Chief Blair said.
Watch the press conference with Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.
2. Ford says he will not resign
Speaking to a crush of media outside his office at City Hall, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he will not resign.
“I have no reason to resign. I’m going to go back and return my phone calls. I’m going to be out doing what the people elected me to do and that’s save taxpayers’ money and run a great government that we’ve been running,” he said.
In a statement lasting just one minute, Mr. Ford also said: “I think everybody’s seen the allegations against me today. I wish I could come out and defend myself but unfortunately I can’t because it’s before the courts."
3. Ford's friend Lisi charged
Toronto Police have charged Ford's friend and occasional driver Alessandro Lisi with extortion, Chief Bill Blair told reporters.
“The evidence will be presented in court where it belongs” he said.
4. Alleged crack video prompted investigation
The Toronto Police investigation, code-named Project Brazen 2, was launched under Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux following news reports of alleged video showing Rob Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. On page 186 of the document, Mayor Ford was listed among 17 other targets in the investigation.
5. Surge of activity after Gawker story
The documents emphasized heightened activity on Mr. Lisi’s cell phone after Gawker.com and the Toronto Star published stories about the crack video.
The calls started on May. 16, the day the story surfaced online. The mayor called Mr. Lisi twice that afternoon. Mr. Lisi, in turn, placed several calls to Fabio Basso, who lived at the address where Mr. Ford was photographed alongside homicide victim Anthony Smith and two other men. The ITO identified the home as a crack house.
Following several calls to Mr. Basso, Mr. Lisi begins calling Mohamed Siad, the man who police believed was trying to sell the crack video.
6. Ford believed he was being observed
The police believe that on Aug. 18, Mr. Lisi and Mr. Ford, who were meeting with a third associate, observed them monitoring the meeting in a school parking lot, the affidavit states. When the surveillance officers departed the scene, “Mayor Ford was observed continuing at a high rate of speed north on Duffield Road, the last known direction of the surveillance vehicle.”
Several days later, a Detective Harris received a phone call from the mayor’s chief of staff, Earl Provost, who said that the mayor believed he was being followed and wanted more information about the vehicle that he believed was tracking his movements. When the police refused to provide the information, Mr. Provost said that the mayor was “getting angry… because he can’t give him what he wants.”
The investigators concluded that the efforts to retrieve the vehicle information was evidence of Mayor Ford “utilizing his position and the powers of the Office of the Mayor, to obtain information not available to regular citizens.”
7. Police conducted surveillance on Ford, Lisi
The police used a combination of airplane surveillance, pole cameras, wiretaps and extensive vehicle monitoring during the investigation. The pole camera could be monitored remotely by investigators.
8. Lisi and Price exchanged phone calls
Mr. Lisi and David Price, the mayor’s logistics director, exchanged 21 calls and texts between March 18 and June 24, with the majority of those coming on May 17, the day after reports were published describing the alleged crack video.
9. Lisi identified as supplier
The dry-cleaner who was arrested on drug charges along with Mr. Lisi on Oct. 1, Jamshid Bahrami, told an undercover officer Mr. Lisi was his supplier.
10. Police conducted aerial surveillance
Toronto Police switched to watching Mr. Lisi with a plane on June 25 after his “counter-surveillance measures” escalated.
11. Police observed exchanges
On July 11, Mr. Lisi met with Rob Ford at the Esso Gas Station near Mr. Ford’s home. Mr. Lisi placed a manila envelope in the passenger side of Mr. Ford’s Cadillac while the mayor was inside the Esso. The meeting was observed by surveillance officers and caught on the gas station’s security cameras.
12. Conversations after Anthony Smith was murdered
On Mar. 28, the morning Anthony Smith was murdered, Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi talked by phone on seven occasions. A photo later emerged in news reports showing Mr. Ford standing with Anthony Smith and two other men outside 15 Windsor Rd., a residence referred to in the document as a crack house.