Rob Ford: more police documents released in Project Brazen investigation

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford steps out of his office at city hall in Toronto on Wednesday March 19, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – An Ontario judge released another batch of documents Monday from Project Brazen 2 – the police investigation into Mayor Rob Ford and his friend, Sandro Lisi.

The information to obtain a warrant released Monday was filed by police on March 7 – two days after the Ontario Provincial Police assumed oversight of the investigation from Police Chief Bill Blair.

The police sought access to Lisi’s cell phone in search of any evidence within text messages between Lisi and several people including the mayor and his former staffer David Price.

Police are specifically looking for any photos, videos and audio recordings made after February 17, 2013 – the day police believe the infamous “crack video” was recorded at an Etobicoke home.

As of the filing of the ITO, police had the texts message, video and audio recordings but had not searched through them.

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In Depth: Mayor Rob Ford

Police suggest in the documents that “it is reasonable to believe that theye may be further surreptitious recording, specifically of the digital audio type” featuring “persons of interest.”

They believe any information gleaned from Lisi’s phone will “afford evidence of the offence of extortion,” with which he was charged last fall.

And the police investigation of extortion is ongoing. They are still investigating whether anyone else could have been a party to Lisi’s alleged crimes.

“LISI’s text conversations leading up to and during the extortion time frame will allow investigators to both identify further witnesses to the extortion, and include or exclude them as persons of interest to the investigation.”

This comes on the heels of a previous set of Project Brazen documents, released last week, detailing the “crack video” and an account of a vicious beating that took place at the Etobicoke home on 15 Windsor Dr. where the video was allegedly recorded.

The new documents cite “numerous instances of Robert FORD exhibiting bad behaviour both during work hours and during his personal time,” many of which – including driving drunk and apparent drug use – have been elucidated in previous police documents.

None of the statements in the documents has been proven in court.

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The mayor has repeatedly said he no longer uses drugs, is not an addict and only smoked crack during a “drunken stupor.” Last fall he pledged to give up drinking, but has not.

According to the documents, Lisi and the mayor met regularly in Etobicoke  and at least once at Toronto city hall. In the documents released Wednesday, a police statement describes those meetings with Lisi as “indicative to that of drug trafficking.

The same investigation also indicates police had been following Lisi and Ford for months and witnessed several meeting between the two where they exchanged packages, met at gas stations and near Scarlett Heights Secondary School.

The documents contained police interviews with some of the mayor’s former staffers who alleged the mayor had driven after drinking, drank alcohol while at city hall and dispatched taxpayer-funded staffers to buy him booze.

The mayor has said the latter is untrue and has called the investigation politically motivated and a waste of time.

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