The infamous video of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine has been released to the public after an extortion charge laid against Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi was withdrawn in court on Thursday.
The former mayor’s brother Doug Ford, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2014 in in his brother’s stead, told Global News from Chicago he thought the release of the video was “disgusting.”
“I don’t see the purpose of releasing it,” Doug Ford said from Chicago. “He had an issue, he had to go get help.”
Doug Ford said the family was looking after Rob’s children in the meantime, adding he wants to know how much the fruitless investigation ended up costing taxpayers.
“I think it’s pretty disgusting. I’d like to know the millions of dollars that were spent chasing Rob, chasing this other person. There’s no charges charged against Rob, they’ve dropped the charges this other individual. What was their motive?,” he said.
“Rob was right — it was a political motive from day one … he apologized a thousand times, he got help, but they still want to just trample on his grave.”
Doug Ford said the release of the video is “hurting the family and hurting his kids,” adding there was “no reason whatsoever” they needed to release it to the public aside from appeasing “a bunch of curiosity seekers.”
“But what they should be doing, they should raise their eyebrows on the people that spent the millions of dollars chasing Rob down for political reasons,” he said.
Rob Ford called for the release of the video on Nov. 5, 2013, which Doug Ford said would have been at a time when he could have defended himself.
“He admitted he did it and what benefit — that’s what I’d like to know — what benefit does this have, outside of people, curiosity seekers trying to hurt the family? But that’s their choice,” Doug Ford said.
Speaking to the possibility of a possible return to politics, Doug Ford said “it’s never over when it comes to our family.”
“We’re just going to keep coming and coming and coming,” he said.
“Because we pull their hands out of the cookie jar, we stop the backroom deals, we stop the corruption and some people aren’t happy about that.”
Global News obtained a copy of the video last year but it was still part of the evidence in the case and was under a publication ban.
The alleged offences occurred in May 2013 as a drug scandal engulfed Ford, who would later admit to having used the illicit drug.
Lisi was charged with using threats of violence or other illegal means in an effort to retrieve the cellphone video.
His lawyer told the court on Thursday they came to an agreement with the Crown to withdraw the extortion charge and enter into a peace bond. The publication ban for the preliminary hearing was therefore lifted.
“He was a loyal friend of Robert Ford,” Domenic Basile told reporters.
“He was trying to get a video back that he knew these people were trying to A) try to extort Rob Ford with and B) try to sell it for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The court order means Lisi agrees to keep the peace, be on good behaviour and avoid contact with individuals involved in the case. He was scheduled to stand trial in September.
Ford died earlier this year from a rare form of cancer.
With files from Mark Carcasole