Rob Ford files defence in jailhouse beating lawsuit accusation
Mayor says he was imitating Hulk Hogan in video, not threatening sister's ex-partner
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denies he arranged a severe jailhouse beating of Scott MacIntyre, his sister's ex-partner, according to a statement of defence the mayor filed yesterday.
MacIntyre filed a lawsuit against Ford in January, alleging Toronto's mayor conspired to have him beaten in jail, and called on police to investigate the incident.
At the time of the attack, MacIntyre was behind bars, accused of uttering a death threat against Ford.
In his lawsuit, MacIntyre pointed to a leaked video of Ford uttering death threats as evidence of intent to harm him.
The video being referred to was published online by the Toronto Star, which paid $5,000 to acquire it.
It showed Ford ranting, swearing and acting erratically.
After the video came out, Ford admitted that he had been "extremely, extremely inebriated" at the time it was recorded.
In the statement of defence, Ford claims he was merely imitating professional wrestler Hulk Hogan in the video, not threatening MacIntyre.
'A private, jocular discussion'
Ford was in a "private, jocular discussion in the supposed privacy of a friend's home," the statement reads, in which he was "discussing and imitating as a joke, the pre-match rant of a professional wrestler."
The video, Ford contends, was taken before Ford's arm-wrestling match with Hogan, which took place at ComiCon last summer.
Ford emphasized that whatever he said in the video was in private, mentioning the word "private" or "privacy" four times in one sentence.
The mayor "has no personal knowledge of who recorded the surreptitious video," according to the statement of defence.
Through his lawyers, Ford said MacIntyre's claim "knowingly lacks merit" and the accusations are "frivolous and vexatious."
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said previously that the force is not investigating because MacIntyre has not filed an official complaint. "If he files a complaint, or reports a crime, we'll investigate," Pugash said.
Police will not start a criminal probe simply because MacIntyre has filed a civil lawsuit, he added.
MacIntyre was attacked while inside the Metro West Detention Centre on March 22, 2012.
According to his statement of claim, the attack occurred near a shower and resulted in MacIntyre’s left tibia and fibula being "severely fractured." He also suffered "facial lacerations and severe dental damage."
MacIntyre had to undergo surgery and spent months recovering from his injuries, according to the statement of claim.
When MacIntyre was sentenced on June 13, 2012, "the court correctly inferred that he had been attacked because he had been a bother to Ford and his family," the statement of claim says.
The document also alleges that Ford, Payman Aboodowleh, an assistant football coach who helped Ford with the Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School football team, and Aedan Petros, a former player, conspired together and with others "to arrange for the attack on the plaintiff and to cause him serious harm."
The lawsuit seeks $1 million in general and special damages from each of the defendants, as well as additional aggravated, punitive and penal damages from them.
None of the lawsuit's allegations have been tested in court.
Ford's lawyers claim MacIntyre's suit is "designed for the collateral and improper purpose of maximizing publicity and notoriety."
Ford was elected as Toronto’s mayor in October 2010. He is seeking a second term in the upcoming election.
There are more than three dozen people who have filed papers to challenge him for his job, including former city councillor David Soknacki, Coun. Karen Stintz, former Ontario PC leader John Tory, former Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow and Sarah Thomson, a former mayoral contender.
On Thursday, Coun. Doug Ford told reporters the mayor will officially launch his campaign with a party next month.
"I invite Ford Nation out on April 17, at 6:30 at night and you’ll see the real people talk, not the media," he said.
The mayor’s brother has decided not to run for council in the fall, so that he can focus on running the mayor’s re-election campaign.
The full statement of defence is included below.
With a report from the CBC's Steven D’Souza