Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he has no reason to resign even as Toronto police Chief Bill Blair revealed his force is in possession of a video that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine.
"I wish I could come out and defend myself," Ford said outside his city hall office on Thursday afternoon. "Unfortunately I can't because it's before the courts. That's all I can say."
Ford appears in a video recovered by police during the Project Traveller investigation, Blair said today after Ford's friend and occasional driver Alexander Lisi was arrested on an extortion charge. Lisi is also facing drug charges laid previously.
Blair said a video seized during an investigation contains images of Ford that have been described by media outlets, an apparent reference to an alleged video that shows Ford smoking crack cocaine.
“We have recovered a digital video file, which is consistent with that which had previously been described in various media reports, and that file forms part of the evidence of the charge that we have laid today,” Blair said.
"I think it’s fair to say that the mayor does appear in that video, but I’m not going to get into the detail of what activity is depicted on that video," said Blair, who added that he was disappointed at the contents of the video.
Blair made the shocking revelation Thursday, the same day court documents were released detailing some of the evidence police used to obtain search warrants for Lisi on drug charges.
A Toronto police news release issued shortly after's Blair news conference alleges Lisi made "extortive efforts to retrieve a recording."
Blair also said the video does not contain enough evidence to lay charges against Ford.
The documents released Thursday detail evidence police gathered in order to get a search warrant for Lisi, who is also known as Alessandro or Sandro, on drug charges.
More information on the contents of those documents can be found here.
Read the documents by clicking on the link below.
The document runs 474 pages, with hundreds of pages of redactions.
It includes police notes with surveillance of Lisi's contact with Ford and documents dozens of meetings between the two men.
The police document indicates friends and people who worked in Ford's office were concerned that Lisi was "fuelling" the Toronto mayor's alleged drug use.
Payman Aboodowleh, a volunteer football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, where Ford coached the team, told police that Lisi met Ford through him. He told police he was "mad at Lisi because he was fuelling the mayor's drug abuse," the document says.
The photos in the documents show Ford and Lisi meeting on several occasions, and exchanging more than one package. The two men also spoke by phone more than 200 times between March 25 and June 25. On one day alone — the two men exchanged 18 phone calls, according to the documents.
The documents begin with information from media stories on U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star about the alleged video, which appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. It also includes a now-famous photo of Ford standing in the driveway of a north Toronto home along with four young men.
One of those men was fatally shot earlier this year and the other two men were arrested as part of Project Traveller, which focused on gang-related drug activity in northwest Toronto.
Hours after the Gawker article was published, phone records show Lisi called Mohamed Siad, who the police report says "is believed to have been one of the people trying to sell Mayor Ford crack video." He also called one of the residents of the "crack house" several times.
Earlier Thursday, prior to the release of the documents, Ford got into an angry shouting match with reporters in the driveway of his home. He screamed at reporters and camera operators: "Get off my property." Watch video of that exchange here.Download the report (29 MB .pdf)