Rob Ford crack video released after charge withdrawn against Sandro Lisi

The video of Toronto’s former mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine is now public, and for the first time can be viewed outside a courtroom.

Video had been entered as evidence in case against Ford's friend and former driver

Rob Ford crack video released

6 years ago
Duration 1:17
Court case ends for former driver Sandro Lisi; evidence made public

The infamous video of Toronto's deceased former mayor, Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine is now public, and for the first time can be viewed outside a courtroom.

The video, shot in February 2013, was released Thursday morning after an extortion charge was withdrawn against Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, Ford's friend and former driver. It shows Ford swearing and mumbling while holding a crack pipe in his left hand, which he lights up and draws on, releasing a wisp of smoke.

On the video, Ford speaks with Elena Basso, who remains off-camera. Basso lives at 15 Windsor Dr., located in the west Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where the video is said to have been filmed. 

The video was entered as evidence in a court proceeding against Lisi, who was accused of extortion over his attempts to retrieve the cellphone that contained the video which proved to be politically explosive for Ford.

Complete transcript below

Media first reported the video's existence in May 2013, sparking a year of controversy in Toronto — and around the world — during which Ford repeatedly denied that he smoked crack cocaine.

The tape of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack was made public Thursday after an extortion charge against his friend and former driver Sandro Lisi was dropped. Ford died in March. (Trevor Dunn/CBC)

The scandal triggered a police investigation. Eventually investigators discovered the video on a laptop seized as part of a guns-and-gangs raid. Toronto's police chief at the time, Bill Blair, declared he was "disappointed" after viewing the recording.

Ford was never charged.

He eventually admitted to substance abuse and checked into a rehab facility in the Muskoka region, north of Toronto. 

He emerged from treatment and resumed his bid for re-election as mayor.

But in September 2014 he was forced to withdraw from the mayoral race, announcing he had been diagnosed with cancer. His brother Doug replaced him on the ballot but lost to John Tory. Rob Ford ran for his old seat on council and was elected.

Ford's health, however, continued to deteriorate and he died of cancer in March of this year. 

On Thursday, Superior Court Justice Ian MacDonnell said dropping the charge against Lisi "closes a rather tumultuous chapter in our city's civic life." 

Transcript of video

The following is a transcript of the Rob Ford crack video prepared by Crown prosecutors.

Rob FORD: (Inaudible).

Elena BASSO: That's why he wants to be involved in everything ---

FORD: --- I know (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- he wants to fight everybody's battles ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- and, and, it's going to, excuse me, kill you.

FORD: (Inaudible) kill f--kin' ---

BASSO: --- don't do it.

FORD: The kids (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- the kids are important to you ---

FORD: --- yeah ---

BASSO: --- that's, that's, that's what drives you baby, that's what I love.

FORD: (Inaudible)

BASSO: That's why we love you.

FORD: (Inaudible).

BASSO: Okay.

FORD: I don't know (inaudible) Kathy ---

BASO: --- your children, your family, your kids ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- your f--kin' footballers ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- your, your kids that play football, that's what drives you.  Family, kids ---

FORD: --- f--k (inaudible) the minorities dude ---

BASSO: --- f--kin' ---

FORD: --- and I'm right wing.  I f--kin' take these kids under my wing ---

BASSO: --- you're right wing?

FORD: No they say I'm this right wing ---

BASSO: --- oh yeah ---

FORD: --- radical f--kin' guy ---

BASSO: --- oh yeah, sure, sure, sure ---

FORD: --- yeah I'm (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- yeah sure, oh yeah.

FORD: (Inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- then what the f--k is the Liberals then?

FORD: (Inaudible) Liban, Liban (inaudible).

BASSO: (Inaudible) Trudeau right there, I'd like, I'd like to get that f--kin' Justin Trudeau and shove my foot as far up his ass ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- 'cause I'm sure it goes real far ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: ---I'm sure my f--kin' he'll tickle his f--kin' nose hairs with my foot ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- up his ass 'cause he's such a f--kin' shit digger, man ---

FORD: --- (inaudible) fat d--k ---

BASSO: --- I hate Trudeau, man.

FORD: --- (inaudible) ---

BASSO: --- f--kin' bulls--t.

FORD: --- (inaudible) f--kin' on, bro.


FORD: I don't know if that cameras not on (inaudible).

BASSO: No ---

UNKNOWN MALE: --- hold on, hold on ---

BASSO: --- it's night.

Source: Court exhibits, Ontario