ABOVE: Jackson Proskow reports on the latest in the ongoing scandal surrounding Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford’s friend Alexander “Sandro” Lisi threatened two young men into giving him a video depicting the mayor smoking what looked like crack cocaine, police allege.
Lisi was released on $5,000 bail on Friday morning after being charged with extortion.
His charge sheet alleges that, between May 16 and May 18, Lisi “did induce Mohamed Siad or Liban Siyad by threats or violence or menaces to deliver said digital video recording.”
Video: Lisi’s lawyers address the allegations and charges against their client
Siad has been identified as the man who showed reporters video of the mayor apparently smoking what looks like crack cocaine.
Lisi was released into his father’s custody, their car swarmed with reporters as they drove away. As conditions of his bail, Lisi must live at his home on 5 Madill Street and abstain from non-medically prescribed drugs. He must try to get a job or go to school and isn’t allowed more than one cell phone or pager. He’s also been prohibited from contacting Elaine or Fabio Basso and Liban Siyad or Mohammed Siad.
Speaking after the bail hearing, Toronto Police Detective Sgt. Gary Giroux told reporters that he didn’t expect any more charges to be laid but added “I thought it was done last time, so we’ll see how it evolves.”
Giroux said he has asked Ford’s Chief of Staff Earl Provost for a meeting with the mayor but thus far has not received a response.
“I’ve made the request and I’m going to continue to do so.”
Lisi’s lawyer Domenic Basile wouldn’t comment on the extortion charge and said his client just wants privacy.
“It’s been very difficult for him; he’s been living under a spotlight.”
Lisi was arrested Oct. 1 on drug charges, but the extortion charge didn’t come to light until Thursday, when police Chief Bill Blair said investigators had recovered a video of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. Blair said Lisi, 35, was charged with extortion as a result of discovering the video.
Lisi didn’t answer any questions when he left the courtroom Friday, instead rushing to a car that was waiting outside. His lawyers refused to comment on the documents or Lisi’s connection to the mayor.
Read more: Complete coverage of the Rob Ford story
Ford has previously denied using crack cocaine or being addicted to crack cocaine. And at a press conference Thursday, the mayor refused to resign.
In a radio interview Friday morning, Ford’s lawyer called on Blair to publish the video, saying that would clear his client’s name.
Court documents released Thursday exposed an extensive police investigation of Lisi and Ford. Those documents revealed police had been following Lisi for months and had photographed him multiple times meeting the Mayor at gas stations, parking lots and parks around the city. Nothing in the documents has been proven in court.
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