When will the public get to see the Rob Ford video?
TORONTO – Police chief William Blair confirmed in a Thursday press conference that police obtained video footage of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford through an investigation into a video of the mayor purportedly smoking crack.
Four hundred pages of documents released Thursday morning included evidence gathered in the investigation — called Project Brazen 2 — and surveillance photos of Ford and his friend and occasional driver Sandro Lisi.
None of the statements in the documents have been proven in court.
But Blair would not describe what he saw in the video, other than to say the mayor appeared in the video and it contained “images consistent with those that had been previously reported in the press.”
For now that video, and one other video investigators obtained, remain as evidence and are not available to media or the public.
When might the public see the video?
“I don’t know when it will be publicly viewed,” Toronto media lawyer Peter Jacobsen told Global News. “If it was used in an affidavit to obtain a search warrant then we can get it. But, I rather suspect it wasn’t.”
“If it was just a piece of evidence that the police obtained and it’s not contained in a search warrant or anything like that we may not have any grounds to go and try to get access to it immediately.”
“The fact that they’ve announced that they’ve found the video is interesting. It’s not often what the police do…but I guess because this is so notorious they wanted to get this out into the public,” Jacobsen said.
Jacobsen said he thinks Blair did the right thing and acted in the public’s interest by acknowledging the video was real.
“It is extraordinary, but we are dealing with an extraordinary case,” he said.
“What we don’t know for sure is what was in the pipe,” he said. “It might have been a big joke on [Ford’s] part… He might have had tobacco in there. I don’t know. He might have had nothing in there. I don’t know that.”
Jacobsen explained investigators would have to be certain what was in that pipe in order to “determine possible breaches of the law.”
But he said outside of the legal system, Ford is certainly going to be facing the court of public opinion and the documents tell a much bigger story.
“There is way more to this than the video,” he said.
He said the huge amount of documents released on Thursday (more than 400 pages) could be an indicator as to Ford’s activities and connections outside of council chambers.
The evidence in the documents may “cause people to question more whether he’s a truth teller,” he added.
Jacobsen explained Ford campaigned on issues such as public safety and has been a proponent of engaging youth to prevent them getting involved in drugs.
“It raises some very serious questions in my view,” he said.
“If you want to get a sense of the kinds of people that the mayor was associating with — that might give you some hints as to whether that pipe had a controlled substance in it or not — it might be useful to look at those documents. ”
There may be no legal ramifications for Ford, he explained.
“[But] I think at the very least, this could cause the mayor to have to explain a little bit more about what the public is seeing,” Jacobsen said.
© 2013 Shaw Media