Watch above: Chief Bill Blair drops defamation suit against Doug Ford. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO – Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has dropped his defamation suit against Doug Ford after the councillor issued a written apology for alleging the chief leaked information about an ongoing criminal case to the media.
Blair, during an afternoon press conference, said he felt compelled to defend himself against Ford’s “false and slanderous” comments.
“Lies that go to the heart of your integrity can not be tolerated,” he said. “The law does not protect lies or the people who tell them, and they must be held accountable.”
Last week Councillor Ford said Blair leaked information that Mayor Rob Ford will be subpoenaed during the extortion trial of the mayor’s friend Sandro Lisi.
At the time, Blair called Doug Ford a liar and threatened to take legal action unless Ford apologized and retracted the statement. Blair followed up on that Monday, when he served Ford with a defamation notice. After brushing off the notice, Ford said Wednesday he’s sorry if he “impugned” the chief but reiterated his prior statements.
Not good enough, Blair said through police spokesperson Mark Pugash.
WATCH: Listen to the Chief’s comments regarding Doug Ford’s apology
Ford issued a written apology Thursday, saying he “has no information or basis to suggest that Chief Bill Blair was personally aware of any provision of such information to the media,” and apologizing for suggesting as much.
Ford also said he’s donate $1,000 to Covenant House, a charity that helps homeless people in Toronto.
Blair told reporters he accepts the written apology and retraction.
Mayor Ford told reporters during a campaign announcement Thursday morning that his brother’s public apology was “sincere.”
The Fords’ relationship with Blair has been strained ever since the chief confirmed the existence of a video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine last year and commented that he was “disappointed.” Over several months, both Ford brothers accused Blair of going after the mayor for political reasons. Blair brushed off these accusations but said he felt compelled to act on Doug Ford’s latest allegation.
Blair said Thursday he hasn’t been engaged in a “war of words” with the councillor.