A dormant scandal over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged drug use flared anew Thursday when the city’s police chief disclosed that a video purportedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine had been recovered from a computer seized in a related drug probe.
Canadian media swarmed to Ford’s suburban home to confront him over the video, which journalists from the Toronto Star and the U.S. gossip site Gawker had reported viewing in May. The mayor at the time vehemently denied that he used drugs or that the video existed.
Police Chief Bill Blair told the media earlier Thursday that an ongoing drug investigation netted a hard drive from which the video had been erased but was recovered by forensic experts. Gawker said the discovery had renewed a police probe into Ford’s alleged drug use.
The digital video reportedly depicting the mayor smoking something in a glass pipe was recovered by investigators Tuesday from a computer hard drive from which it had been erased earlier, Canadian news reports said.
The discovery resulted from an investigation last summer of reports of the mayor’s alleged drug use and frequent contact with accused drug dealer and friend Alexander Lisi, according to the Star and other Toronto media.
Reporters descended on the mayor’s home after the police chief’s revelations, but Ford refused to discuss the matter, ordering them to “get off my driveway” before taking off in his SUV. Ford later held a news conference where he said he was constrained from commenting on the video by the ongoing investigation of Lisi.
“I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately I can’t because it’s before the courts. That’s all I can say,” Ford said.
Asked if he planned to heed the calls of other civic leaders that he step down from office, Ford replied that he had “no reason to resign.”