TORONTO – A video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine was shot in February 2013 without the mayor’s knowledge, according to newly filed police documents.
There were several people with him, the documents say. And his friend Sandro Lisi is accused of making threatening phone calls to get a hold of it.
When the mayor admitted to smoking crack cocaine in October, he guessed he consumed the street drug approximately a year ago in a “drunken stupor.” He has since said he hasn’t consumed illegal drugs in “more than a year.” But documents released Tuesday say the video was filmed “surreptitiously” in February, showing the mayor “consuming what appears to be a narcotic.”
Lisi became aware of the video in May when the video was shopped around to media outlets including the Toronto Star and Gawker, according to the documents, filed by the Crown as part of an ongoing court proceeding as media organizations fight for access to more of the Lisi case.
Starting on May 16, the documents allege, Lisi placed “several threatening / extorting phone calls” to people he thought had the video.
Lisi “insinuated that there would be consequences for the failure to return the video recording depicting the video images of the mayor,” the documents read.
That same day, at approximately 8:28 ET, Gawker published “For Sale: A video of Toronto Mayor Rob FORD Smoking Crack Cocaine.”
According to the ITO documents previously released, Lisi spoke with the mayor twice on May 16 before the first allegations were published: once at 3:29 p.m. for 2 seconds and again at 8:18 p.m. for 40 seconds.
After Gawker’s article was published Lisi texts an unidentified number 9 times and eventually receives 4 calls from that number between 8:23 and 9:08 p.m.
Lisi also spoke to Fabio Basso, and twice to someone identified as “Siyad.”
The calls continue the next day as he called Basso and made two calls to an unidentified number.
At 1:17 p.m. and 1:23 p.m. on May 17, he called Mohammad Siad – the person believed to have been trying to sell the video. Siad and Liban Siyad are the two alleged victims of extortion, according to the documents.
A few hours later, he received several calls from Mayor Ford – a 22-second call 5:26 p.m.; three calls in one minute at 5:27 (the first two go to voicemail, the third lasts 227 seconds); a 19-second call at 5:38 p.m.; and another minute-long call at 9:06 p.m.
Lisi’s calls to and from the mayor continued the next day, with the two speaking 6 times between 9:41 a.m. and 6:46 p.m.
None of the statements in either set of police documents have been proven in court.
Lisi is a friend of the mayor’s and has occasionally driven him around the city and attended Toronto Maple Leafs games and the Garrison Ball with the mayor. The police documents describe him as a friend and “associate” of the mayor.
When Lisi was arrested early in October for drug trafficking and possession of marijuana, Ford said he was “surprised.”
“He’s a friend,” Ford said at the time. “He’s a good guy and I don’t throw my friends under the bus. Like I said, he’s straight and narrow, I’ve never once seen him drink, I’ve never seen him do drugs.”
The mayor also wrote a character reference for Lisi in which he said Lisi “displayed exceptional leadership skills and worked hard both in and out of the campaign office.” The letter was referenced during a June 14 sentencing after Lisi was convicted of threatening to kill a woman. He is appealing the conviction.
Ford later defended the letter saying he “write[s] lots of letter” and support “a lot of people.”
In-Depth: Mayor Rob Ford
Police obtained a hard drive containing a deleted file with the video during the June Project Traveller raids but weren’t able to recover it until October 29. The raids targeted a Dixon Road street gang and many of the 43 arrests took place at 320 Dixon Road.
The mayor has refused to answer questions about the video, which he said last May did not exist.
More recently, he demanded Police Chief Bill Blair release the video. Police have repeatedly denied the mayor’s request, saying the video is evidence in the trial against Lisi.
© Shaw Media, 2013