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Video shows Toronto mayor inhaling from glass cylinder -police

Source: Reuters - Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:13 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Adds comments from Ford's lawyer)

By Allison Martell

TORONTO, March 19 (Reuters) - A video obtained by police last year shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who has admitted to using crack cocaine, inhaling some kind of vapor from a glass cylinder, according to police documents unsealed on Wednesday.

The documents also said some of Ford's meetings and calls with friend and occasional driver Sandro Lisi were "indicative to that of drug trafficking" and showed that police asked for a warrant to access some of Ford's phone records.

The mayor has not been charged in the investigation, and allegations in the documents have not been proven in court.

Ford, who is running for re-election, made international headlines last May when media blog Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper said they had seen a video that appeared to show him smoking crack.

In October, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said his force had obtained a video consistent with media reports, but did not describe it in detail. Days later, Ford admitted he had smoked crack, probably in a "drunken stupor."

"The video appears to have been filmed surreptitiously showing Mayor Ford consuming what appears to be a narcotic," said the documents released on Wednesday.

According to the documents, the mayor holds a lighter and what looks like a glass cylinder. He "holds the glass cylinder to his mouth. Lights the lighter and applies the flame to the tip of the glass cylinder in a circular motion," and a few seconds later appears to inhale.

"This is old news. I don't know why everyone's rehashing this," said Dennis Morris, Ford's criminal lawyer, in an interview with local network CP24. Morris said the police clearly do not have enough evidence to lay charges.

"The mayor is the victim, and I don't know why they're pursuing him," he said.

The documents are linked to Project Brazen Two, an ongoing investigation by Toronto police that has already resulted in extortion charges against Lisi.

In October, Lisi was charged with extortion for actions police allege he took while trying to retrieve the video, and he has separately been charged with drug trafficking. When he was charged with extortion, he did not respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Portions of the documents released last year showed that the mayor had been under surveillance for months, but Toronto Police have not said whether they believe Ford played any role in the scheme.

Several local media outlets teamed up and went to court to have the documents unsealed. The group is still seeking access to other, related documents. (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson, Bernard Orr)

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