TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will not resign.
“I have no reason to resign,” he told throngs of reporters outside his City Hall office. “I’m going to go back and return my phone calls, I’m going to be out doing what the people elected me to do. And that’s save taxpayers money.”
Watch: Rob Ford says he won’t resign after police confirm they’ve seen video
The mayor spoke Thursday several hours after Police Chief Bill Blair acknowledged investigators have a video of the mayor depicting images “consistent with those that had been previously reported in the press,” Blair told reporters at a morning press conference. He said police retrieved a video Tuesday from a hard drive seized during the Project Traveller raids several months ago.
“It’s safe to say the Mayor does appear in the video,” Chief Blair said Thursday.
Blair told reporters there’s nothing in the video that would allow police to “form reasonable grounds” to lay a criminal charge.
In May, Toronto police assigned a homicide detective to investigate allegations of a video purporting to show Ford smoking what looked like crack cocaine. At the time, Ford called the allegations “ridiculous” and said he “cannot comment on a video [he has] not seen or does not exist.”
Hundreds of pages of documents detailing that investigation, focusing on the Mayor and his friend Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, were released Thursday after journalists fought to make them public. The heavily redacted documents detail dozens of conversations and meetings between Lisi and the Mayor – at Esso stations, in parking lots, at Ford’s kid’s soccer game.
None of the statements in the documents have been proven in court.
Read more: Complete coverage of the Rob Ford story
“I think everyone has seen the allegations against me today,” Ford told reporters. “I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately, I can’t because it’s before the courts and that’s all I can say right now.”
It wasn’t immediately clear what legal concerns Ford was referring to. And, according to Toronto-based media lawyer Peter Jacobsen, Ford in fact could have defended himself, though he may have been advised otherwise. (Full Disclosure: Global News hired Jacobsen to fight for the documents to be released)
“I think he could comment on it if he wanted to,” Jacobsen said. “He could come out and say ‘Look, this presents a totally inaccurate view of what was going on.’ He could say that. There’s nothing wrong with that.
“He can say whatever he wants. Whether it’s advisable or not is another question. But, he’s got freedom of speech. He can say what he wants.”